Four young South African entrepreneurs have made it to the final round of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) International Space Apps Challenge, becoming one of 133 international teams to reach this stage.
The challenge was an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that took place over 48 hours in cities around the world, and which saw the submission of nearly 800 apps.
It embraced cooperative problem solving, with the goal of producing relevant, open-source solutions to meet global needs and that were applicable to both life on earth and in space.
The South African team, comprising designer Thami Zulu, mathematician Bonga Nkosi, mobile app developer Melvin Musehani and software engineer Stephen Kobue, developed an app named Cosmic Hub, which was implemented on the Blackberry 10 platform and, in addition to identifying near-earth objects, provided a simulation of our solar system.
The app, short for application, was developed in response to Nasa’s Database of Near Earth Objects challenge, which was aimed at improving the public understanding of science and space exploration by providing a user-friendly platform for cataloguing and sharing the sightings of near-earth objects.
The International Space Apps Challenge judging panel would now review the top 20 solutions – five in each category – and select an overall winner in each category between May 13 and May 17.
A fifth award would be selected by the public, with the winners to be announced on May 22.