At the PDC last year, you may have seen that NASA and Microsoft made a number of announcements! New data apis in Microsoft Codename "Dallas", a Silverlight+ASP.NET MVC 2 site on Azure.... but did you realize they also launched a programming competition??
NASA has hundreds of thousands of images from their missions to Mars. With the Pathfinder Innovation Challenge, they want to enlist your coding skills to help them classify them. This is a unique opportunity where you can help NASA and win some great prizes by utilizing your existing .NET skills!
The Pathfinder Innovation Challenge consists of four different “leagues”. In the Global Cooperation League, you’ll build casual games that will allow every day citizens to help classify images in a game environment (similar to the counting craters application that can be found online here – http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/maproom) and do so using Silverlight and NASAs Azure-hosted APIs in codename Dallas. In the Intelligence League, you’ll use the power of the Azure cloud to attempt to solve the same problem by programmatically examining and classifying the images.
Full details for the competition can be found on their website at http://http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/pic . Details specific to the Global Cooperation League at http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/pic/coop-league and details for the Intelligence League can be found at http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/pic/intelligence-league . Also be sure to check out the intelligence league site for a series of “How Do I?” videos that show how to sign up for an use the Codename Dallas API.
In addition to helping mankind and being able to brag that your code was helping NASA, PIC winners will also win amazing prizes ranging from NASA swag, to ZuneHDs, to trips to see the launch of the next Mars Rover.