NASA reveals winning prototypes from first Digital Transformation Hackathon

On September 11, NASA conducted its first Digital Transformation Hackathon, a virtual event that tapped more than 200 employees to quickly developed prototypes for a variety of challenges. Each innovation had to be digitally-powered and targeted at improving NASA's "efficiency, agility, and insight," the space agency explains on its website. The ultimate goal is to potentially leverage these prototypes to boost NASA's tech, science, and exploration space missions.

NASA announced the full list of Digital Transformation Hackathon winners on Friday, detailing the different types of challenges it had presented for the virtual event. Rather than working alone, NASA employees from across the agency teamed up and worked together on their topic of choice; winners, therefore, are entire teams, one for a total of four overall categories.

The work these teams were able to accomplish virtually and in such little time is truly surprising, with NASA detailing winning prototypes like a full 12-week data science curricula on machine learning, a natural language processing-based application for analyzing NASA databases, a LinkedIn-style website for semi-automated professional pages on employees, and more.

NASA lists the full lineup of prototypes, winning teams, and honorable mentions on its announcement page here.

The space agency, as with other agencies and businesses around the world, has been forced to get creative due to the pandemic and the social distancing requirements that come with it. Remote working technologies and virtual collaboration has become the new normal for NASA, which had previously offered brief looks at how some of its experts are managing space missions and other critical work from home.

Though remote working is challenging for certain industries and tasks, other industries have found that working from home has had little impact on their workflow and output — and, in fact, many people report a desire to continue working remotely even after the pandemic ends. Only time will tell how big of an impact the pandemic will ultimately have on work culture, however.