Attention aspiring paleoclimatologists: NASA is awarding $35,000 to one lucky civilian who can develop a specialized asteroid-detecting technology. The "Asteroid Grand Challenge," which was announced at the South By Southwest Festival today and will begin on March 17, aims to develop better algorithms used to find the flying space rocks that could ruin life as we know it (no pressure).
To win the money, the scientist's solution "must increase the detection sensitivity, minimize the number of false positives, ignore imperfections in the data, and run effectively on all computer systems." That doesn't sound like something you'd get from your run-of-the-mill weekend hack-a-thon.
"Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are," said Jenn Gustetic, Prizes and Challenges Program executive. "By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to help solve this global challenge." [Euronews]
Just think how sweet "Asteroid Data Hunter" is going to look on LinkedIn. --Jordan Valinsky