Filipinos developed solutions at home in the 2020 NASA Space Apps Challenge virtual hackathon
Gadgets|November 2020
Last October 2-4, 2020, Filipino developers, engineers, technologists, designers, scientists, coders, storytellers, makers, builders, innovators, and entrepreneurs from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao came together to address real-world problems on Earth and space by engaging with the United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) free and open data, together with partner agencies like Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) of France, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA) in a virtual hackathon. Some of the projects developed include road hazard detection, data visualization tools, and machine learning for satellite image monitoring, and a lot more.

This year’s edition of NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic situation worldwide. The theme of this year Take Action is a critical reminder that anyone can make a difference, even from the comfort and safety of home. In this unprecedented time, the Space Apps community exists as a reminder that there the tools and talents to tackle challenges facing the planet, as well as the ability to unite across boundaries and borders of all kinds.

Vice President Leni Robredo lauded this event as “our ability to gather ourselves, organize, and come together have opened the doors to technology and progress. We have done great things, cure diseases, find ways to connect with each another across the oceans, and even walked on the Moon… all thanks to mutual cooperation.”

The first Director-General of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr. stressed the importance of space science in helping the society. “Space infrastructure, space data, and space-enabled services therefore help inform policies and decision-support systems that can lead us to better plan and decongest our cities, improve our transportation systems, monitor the state of infrastructure, enable better connectivity, enhance our agricultural and fisheries production, and protect our natural environment,” he said.

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