Welcome to #SpaceApps 2017, the World's Largest Hackathon

04/29/2017 12:17 pm ET
Blake Garcia (second from left) leads the global organizing team for Space Apps.
via @icecreamnasa on Twitter
Blake Garcia (second from left) leads the global organizing team for Space Apps.

Blake Garcia of SecondMuse is leading our global team managing Space Apps for NASA. Space Apps is an international hackathon that occurs over 48 hours in cities around the world. Coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and everyone enthusiastic about space come together to address challenges we face on Earth and in space! The theme for the challenges this year is Earth! Blake shared some of his remarks from Space Apps in Rome this morning. Note that we have updated the number of participants to reflect the latest data.

First of all, I'd like to extend my warmest gratitude to the team behind Space Apps Rome for welcoming me here. Every year our global organizing team is inspired by the amazing work and collaboration between ESA (European Space Agency), the US Embassy in Rome, and others who come together to produce this special event. I had the great pleasure of meeting Tiziana and the Ice Cream Team, who at Space Apps 2016 took home the global award for Galactic Impact, at the launch event in Cape Canaveral last Fall, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend time with all of you this weekend.

I know the hackers are ready to get to work so I will do my best to be brief. My name is Blake Garcia. I work for a collaborative innovation company called SecondMuse. SecondMuse partnered with NASA back in 2012 to come up with the idea for the first Space Apps and has been managing the program with NASA since its inception.

First of all, Space Apps is nothing without its community. This weekend more than 24,000 people in almost 200 cities across more than 70 countries spanning virtually all regions of the globe will be hacking simultaneously. Think about that — that is almost 5 times the number of cities that have ever hosted the olympics, more countries than in Africa and South America combined.

Why do so many people from so many different places volunteer months of energy (and stress) to plan and host an event? Why did all of you sacrifice a weekend in this beautiful city to be here? What I think it comes down to is an innate and shared desire from everyone who makes up the global Space Apps community to dream and be inspired. Space Apps hackers can look beyond a fancy prize for another hackathon idea that will be lost after the weekend and allow themselves to dream and express ideas that are as big as NASA. But you didn't come here to just talk about your dreams and what you might be able to do, you came here to actually build something. Don’t doubt yourself and the potential of your hack to grow into something with lasting impact.

The global Space Apps event is a story of hacks. It was an idea that people thought was crazy (it was first expressed on a napkin after all), but the first Space Apps came together nonetheless through creative thinking and problem solving. This same determination (or craziness) is reflected in all of the volunteer organizers who work tirelessly to make Space Apps happen. These efforts are of course all for you, the participants, who will spend the weekend collaborating with new friends and old friends, to build a project in response to the challenges.

Your idea can save the world, inspire people to dream big — and already by being here to hack with this community, you have become a part of something special, the world's largest hackathon: Space Apps 2017.

Best of luck to all of the teams this weekend!

Follow #SpaceApps all day across social media for inspiring stories.

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