Join the South African National Space Agency for a hackathon and help to protect our satellite infrastructure from space weather
With the advances in space-based technologies, societies become increasingly reliant on these technologies such as satellites for navigation, communications, and weather prediction.
If satellites were to fail, every aspect of our lives would be affected. All flights would be grounded due to the lack of navigation systems and communications with ground support. We would be unable to predict the weather causing pilots to fly blindly into storms.
Utilities such as sewer works, water works, traffic lights would also be in danger as these systems often rely on GPS satellites timestamps to work. The absence of timestamps from satellites would also put financial transactions and ATM withdrawals in jeopardy.
Satellite television and radio would disappear, and broadband connectivity and international phone calls would also become impossible, affecting our global economy on a grand scale.
The chances of all our satellites going off-line all at once seems unlikely but there is one phenomenon posing such a threat. Space weather is driven by activity on the sun and if a solar flare or coronal mass ejection hits the earth, it could have a devastating impact on our satellites.
Over the weekend of 25 and 26 June 2021, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) in partnership with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) will host a virtual hackathon aimed at discovering possible mitigating measures to threats posed by space weather to our satellite infrastructure.
The Hackathon theme is aligned to the World Space Week theme, “Satellites improve life” and focuses on the impact that satellites have on our daily lives. An emphasis will be placed on space weather which has been recognised as a global challenge impacting our technologies.
Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, SANSA Managing Director describes this hackathon as an important intervention in the quest to manage the global challenge of space weather. “This event will demonstrate how innovation and teamwork can result in applicable solutions. We encourage collaboration as a way of tapping into the potential of South Africa’s role mitigating the effects of this global problem.”
Participants may sign up as a team or individually and will have 24 hours to come up with an innovative and creative solution to the problem statement.
There are cash prizes up for grabs and the winning team will win a sponsored trip to visit the top space facilities in the Western Cape, including the SANSA campus in Hermanus.
Click here to sign up.
Visit the SANSA website to find out more.