NASA 2013 International Space Apps contest winners unveiled

NASA has the announced the winners of its 2013 International Space Apps Challenge, which opened to submissions back in late April. A total of 770 entries were sent in, and out of them five winners have been selected, one in each of the five categories presented. The winners were selected by judges from the European Space Agency and NASA, as well as partnered organizations. The goal of the contest was to create apps that help with space exploration, among other things.

The entries were also judged via social media, where the voting public selected "ChicksBook" as the People's Choice Award. This app is multi-device, available for Android, iOS, and Web, that provides information on raising chickens – as well as offering a way to track the data of the project – in a small backyard farm setting. It was developed in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, the five "Best in Class" winners are comprised of a variety of different applications that solve different issues. The "Most Inspiring" selection was a prototype app called T-10, which was designed for use on the International Space Station. Those aboard the ISS can use the app to select areas to photograph. When the ISS is about to pass over that area, the app will provide an alert, as well as offering notifications about potentially interesting weather. The images are auto-uploaded to Twitter.

The winner in the "Galactic Impact" category is the app Greener Cities, which aggregates crowdsourced microclimate information that is designed to work alongside satellite-gathered information. Alongside the software was also a sensor that is said to be inexpensive and used to monitor in gardens. While that is interesting, the winner of the "Best Mission Concept" is arguably the most creative in idea/name combination – Popeye on Mars. Unlike the others, this is a tangible item winner, offering a reusable spinach greenhouse designed for use on Mars. The greenhouse is complete with all the sensors and other items needed to grow spinach.

Last but not least is Sol (Best Use of Data) and ISS Base Station (Best Use of Hardware). Sol is said to be the first interplanetary weather app, allowing users to choose a planet and view its weather. ISS Base Station, meanwhile, offers both a device that illuminates and points in the direction of the ISS when it is in the user's vicinity, as well as offering software and an iOS app for pinpointing the space station's location.