Nasa seeks coders to hunt asteroids
The US space agency NASA is seeking software developers who could help prevent a global catastrophe by identifying dangerous asteroids that could potentially crash into the Earth. This project, called the Asteroid Data Hunter contest, will offer $35,000 (£21,000) to programmers who can identify asteroids captured by ground-based telescopes.
The winning solution must increase the detection rate and minimise the number of false positives. Scientists are increasingly calling for help to make sense of vast data sets. The new improved asteroid hunting code must also be able to ignore imperfections in the data and run on all computer systems.
"Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are," said Jenn Gustetic, executive of the programme.
"By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to solve this global challenge."
Current asteroid detection is only tracking one percent of the estimated objects that orbit the sun, according to asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources, which is partnering with Nasa in the contest.