The space agency will award $35,000 to the best coder.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced a new Asteroid Data Hunter contest in search of programmers to develop better asteroids detecting algorithms.
The space agency in association with the Planetary Resources of Bellevue has announced a cash award of $35,000 for the best coder.
As part of the Asteroid Data Hunter contest series, the participants will have to develop better algorithms that can identify asteroids in images captured by ground-based telescopes.
According to NASA, the code should be able to increase the detection sensitivity, while reducing the number of false positives, ignore imperfections in the data, and also require to run on all computer systems.
NASA Tournament Lab director Jason Crusan said for the past three years, the agency has been learning and advancing the ability to leverage distributed algorithm and coding skills through the NASA Tournament Lab to solve tough problems.
"We are now applying our experience with algorithm contests to helping protect the planet from asteroid threats through image analysis," Crusan added.
The complete contest will be managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, while the first contest in the series is slated to start on 17 March 2014.
Asteroid Data Hunter contest series, which is scheduled to run through August 2014, is said to be the first contest series of the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge.
Planetary Resources president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki said current asteroid detection initiatives are only tracking one percent of the estimated objects that orbit the Sun.
"We are excited to partner with NASA in this contest to help increase the quantity and knowledge about asteroids that are potential threats, human destinations, or resource rich," Lewicki added.
"Applying distributed algorithm and coding skills to the extensive NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey data set will yield important insights into the state of the art in detecting asteroids."