Annual NASA event inspires public to help with space exploration.

Local inhabitants will be minding NASA’s business all weekend long.

As part of the yearly International Space Apps Challenge, helpers will be working hard in an epic session of computer programming, engineering and general thinking from Friday night throughout Sunday afternoon.

It may be the fourth year of the contest, but this will be the first time Hampton Roads has partaken. This is the only “hackathon” in the state.

The events recruits residents ranging from computer programmers to scientists, students to instructors, entrepreneurs to engineers for developing mobile apps, hardware, software, data visualization and platform solutions to provide to space examination or improving life on Earth.

“It’s really NASA’s way to influence the community spirit and aptitude, will, drive and passion.” said Aazia Mickens-Dessaso, a local manager of the contest and CEO of a local startup called FreePing.

To this point, 35 citizens have registered to join the local hackathon and registration is still on going.

The contest is open to everybody who wants to swing by and observe the brainstorming in action.

It’s being held by Peninsula Technology Incubator (PTI) at the National Institute of Aerospace at 1100 Exploration Way in Hampton. That’s near the NASA Langley Research Center.

Head technology officer at NASA HQs in Washington, D.C., Deborah Diaz, said the occasion is a chance for resident scientists around the world to mingle and provide to space exploration.

This year highlights a big push on “women in data”, with the first Data boot camp the will have an online live streaming on Friday.

This year’s contest has 35 challenges in four areas: Earth studies, space exploration, human health research, and robotics. Answers could mean evolving a piece of technology for field work that can be worn or ways to motivate unmanned floating vehicles in zero-gravity.

According to NASA, contests are being organized at more than 135 settings around the globe. This is a competition, and on Sunday afternoon two local victors will be selected to compete internationally.

One international victory last year established a new way to track the stars and eventually got support as a software start-up.

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