The world largest and highly competitive hackathon “NASA International Space Apps Challenge” was held in 2 cities this year which was organized by Team Rah e Qamar at The Millennium University & College in 2 major cities of Pakistan.

The event was held for the very 1st time in Karachi under the main lead of Muhammad Iftekhar Yezdani founder and CEO of Rah e Qamar and Hassan Qazi co-founder of Rah e Qamar, while the stellar local lead of Karachi of NASA Space App were in the hands of Hassaan Bin Zaki and Raza Hassan who are the head lead of Rah e Qamar in Karachi.

The theme of 2018 Space Apps Challenge

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge is a worldwide competition that brings personalities from diverse backgrounds and fields to produce open source solutions through the code, conception, visualization, design, hardware or an app in 48 hours.

The teams of technologists, scientists, engineers, designers, coders, programmers, entrepreneurs, problem solvers, idealists, and students work with NASA in designing innovative solutions and to develop answers to some of the most pressing global issues and problems.

This year the theme was “Earth” and “Space” in which there were about 20 challenges in 6 different categories that include:

  1. Can You Build A…,
  2. Help Others Discover the Earth,
  3. Volcanoes, Icebergs and Asteroids(oh my),
  4. What The World Need Now Is…,
  5. An Icy Glare,
  6. A Universe of Beauty and Wonder.

These were given from the domain of Earth and Space. These problems are designed with real global issues that need to have an innovative solution. To solve these issues, participants were given access to a wide range of data sets, services, and tools from NASA and associated agencies for 48 hours and they have to design a solution within that time frame.

More details can be found here:

Location: Karachi

Winner – Team ThuderX

The Winner of this competition from local Karachi were Team ThuderX. The team consisted of:

  • Jibran Yousuf
  • Syed Muhammad Hamza
  • Uroosh Mashall
  • Setara Arain

They developed NASA News Alert Application, having two separate modules. The first module was to provide aid to the space science students and faculty to provide the accurate news update of new events, new space missions and predicting the forthcoming, the natural occurrences by using Machine Learning. The Second Module focused on fusing AI Chat Bot in the application that enables the user to interact directly with NASA’s resources, and authentic data & reports.

Detailed Information

Runners-up – Team Shark_Bot

The Runner Up of this competition from local Karachi was Team Shark_Bot. The Team included:

  • Hadiqa Ahmed
  • Kanwal Shameem
  • Dua Khan
  • Eruj S. Qadri
  • Kiran Noor
  • Ghulam Nabi Ahmed Hassan
  • Mirza Zulqarnain

They designed an underwater vehicle which goes inside the ocean and sends the images and videos and processes the deep sea images into refined images which can be used for deep sea submarine tracking, underwater drone and deep sea exploration of different species of plants, fishes and other organisms.

Detailed Information

Location: Islamabad

Winner – Team Space Board

Team Space Board was the Winner from local Islamabad who integrated NASA Earth science data and citizen data to learn more about the connections between human, animal and environmental health.

The team consisted of:

  • Danyal Khan
  • Zara Shafique
  • Muhammad Bilal Afzal

Detailed Information

Runners-up – Team DOD

Team DOD was the runner-up from local Islamabad consisting of:

  • Salman Ali Thepdawala
  • Mostafa Ali
  • Waleed Khan
  • Zarar Younis
  • Talha Farooq

They built a crowd sourcing tool for citizens to contribute to early detection, verification, tracking, visualization and notification of wildfires.

Detailed Information

Global Nominees

All the 4 teams are nominated from Pakistan as a global nominee and are now competing for global awards where the brightest ideas across the Space Apps universe receive global recognition.

The categories for awards are:

  1. The Best use of data
  2. The Best use of hardware
  3. The Best mission concept
  4. Galactic impact
  5. Most inspirational
  6. Best use of science.

Global award winners are featured on the Space Apps website and receive an invitation to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the Space Apps Global Organizing Team.

Mentors and Judges

The Mentors for local Karachi were:

  1. Ahmed Rizvi (a science student’s activist and social entrepreneur).
  2. Hasan Baloch (Entrepreneur and owner of a software house “O reference”).
  3. Kamran Tariq (Ex data analyst at IBM, currently data analyst at “Love for Data”).

The respected Judges for local Karachi were:

  1. Uzair Khan (CEO IKnowVationLab, Malaysia).
  2. Javed Iqbal (Director ISST, UoK).
  3. Jawed Qamar (Founding Director of ISST, UoK).

Chief Guests

The Chief Guest were Mr. Abdur Rafay Shaik (Founder & CEO UAS Global) and Dr. Abdul Hafeez Malik (Principal TMUC Karachi).

Message from the Curator

The Curator of NASA Space Apps Challenge said to make it more wonderful and competitive next year with the increasing number of participants, activities and follow up sessions and will host it in other cities of Pakistan as well.

This post is written by Ayesha Shaikh

Aftab Saqib

Aftab Saqib is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at XeCreators. He specializes in designing and conducting training programs related to Web and IT, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, and Career Development. In addition, he possesses skills in algorithm design and DevOps management for web applications.

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