1 - You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work with NASA

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You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work with NASA

17 May 2021

NASA wants you to help explore space and you don’t need a PhD. In its partnership with Freelancer.com, NASA is inviting the general public to participate in a crowdsourcing project and earn a share of US$25,000.

The space agency is calling on ordinary people to join a programme evaluating the novelty, feasibility and quality of engineering solutions for Astrobee, the free-flying robot which moves around the space station performing routine tasks.

“NASA wants a broad set of Freelancers with diversity across backgrounds, experience, and skills for this project to be successful. We encourage everyone to register,” said a Freelancer.com spokesperson.

Register your interest here.

People who wish to participate will need to complete a survey and answer some questions which assess the level of knowledge they have relative to the solutions they will be evaluating.

After the registration process is complete, random sets of people will be chosen to complete the evaluations. 

Each of the chosen users will evaluate 10 solutions which should take no more than 60-90 minutes. For this, each evaluator will be paid around US$25.

In this challenge NASA is trying to understand how the general community might be able to help evaluate solutions provided for NASA engineering challenges and is using the Freelancer.com platform, with its 51 million registered users, to find candidates and test the process.

NASA and crowdsourcing

NASA is a world leader in using crowdsourcing to find solutions to the most complex problems being faced by astronauts on the cutting edge of space exploration. 

Through its Centre of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), and the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), Freelancer.com has been working in partnership since 2015 on projects including:

1. Training the image recognition of the Robonaut R2 robotic astronaut by generating 3D models of objects that it would interact with on the EVA spacewalk, including flashlights, tools and handrails of the International Space Station.
2. The interface design of a smartwatch app for use by the astronauts on the ISS.
3. Logos for various groups including the Logistics Reduction Project, Gondola for High Altitude Planetary Science Project, and NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thrust - Commercial (NEXT-C) Project. 
4. Astrobee Challenges Series – designing a next generation robotic assistant to support astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Design components for a robotic arm for Astrobee.

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