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March 25, 2016

Johns Hopkins APL Hosts Baltimore/Washington Space Apps Challenge, April 23–24

Technology teams will take on science and technology problems facing our planet and solar system at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, on April 23–24. The event is part of this year’s International Space Apps Challenge, a global marathon of coding and innovation, with local events taking place simultaneously in 193 locations spanning 72 countries.

The teams formed at the Baltimore/Washington Space Apps Challenge will consist of technology and software developers, engineers, designers, students and other participants with interests in space-related topics. Participants will use publicly released open data to create hardware, software, mobile applications, data visualizations and platform solutions. There are 25 new challenges for this year’s event, organized in six themes: Aeronautics, Earth, International Space Station, Journey to Mars, Solar System, and Technology. The Space Apps Challenge is a NASA incubator innovation program; the Baltimore/Washington event is sponsored by APL.

Led by NASA, space agencies and organizations across the globe will provide support and guidance for the competition. Last year, there were over 13,000 participants worldwide, in 133 cities, which produced 949 solutions for 35 challenges. “This year’s Space Apps Challenge is going to be bigger and better,” said APL’s Wes Jenkins, a space systems ground engineer and co-organizer of the event. “APL has worked hard with fantastic organizations like the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the STEM Lunar Challenge to get the word out to the local community. Even better, we have a few surprises planned for participants. We hope to see a strong turn out here at APL, and look forward to working with the innovators to create effective solutions to some of NASA’s most critical challenges.”

The global main stage for this year’s event will be in Pasadena, California; on April 22, a Data Bootcamp will be streamed live from that stage. The bootcamp is open to the public and will give participants the opportunity to learn new skills with computer coding and data. “We’re reaching out to women’s organizations influential in the data and maker communities to participate, and we encourage women-led teams in the hackathon,” said Deborah Diaz, chief technology officer for information technology at NASA.

“Events like the Space Apps Challenge are amazing launching pads for innovative ideas and careers,” said Ann Darrin, managing executive of APL’s Space Exploration Sector. “They are also great at developing team-building skills and collaborative creativity, which are so crucial for success in the kinds of game-changing technology work that organizations like NASA and APL contribute to the nation.”

The site of the Baltimore/Washington Space Apps Challenge, APL’s Building 200 Lobby, will be open to participants from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 24. Registration for the event is open until April 23. Some eligible participants will be offered a chance to explore over 50 years of history by touring the APL facility on a walking tour to be arranged at a later date. Local winners will receive prizes and may be selected to move on to the global competition. The teams are open to any participant; those under age 18 must bring a parent or guardian. Spectators are welcome.

For visitor information about APL and to register for the event, visit:

To learn more about NASA’s Space Apps Challenge in Baltimore/Washington, visit:

To learn more about NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, visit:

Media contact: Geoff Brown, 240-228-5618,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit



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