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Teaching Mars: Hackathon


Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

Teaching Mars: Hackathon

Ticket Information

Type Remaining End Quantity
Hackathon Day #1   more info 3 Tickets Ended Free  
Hackathon Day #2   more info 6 Tickets Ended Free  
Showcase Only   more info 23 Tickets Ended Free  

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Event Details


This June 19-20th, join KQED, Mozilla, and Bay Area digital media studios MX & Spine Films as we brainstorm ways to make Mars exploration fun, interactive, and hands-on.

In this open house hackathon, we'll be developing Mars-colonization themed challenges using new open source media and web development tools. We will share ideas, play with data, and experiment with new storytelling techniques.

We welcome educators, scientists, designers, open web developers, and anyone with an interest in the red planet.

Come join us for 2 days of informal dreaming, design and coding. Please RSVP, space is limited.


Every day, scientists are working to solve technical, physiological, and psychological challenges in order to send humans to Mars. The red planet is the next frontier in human imagination.

At the same time, Mars exploration is a fascinating topic for educators. It can be a fun gateway into science & technology learning for students of all ages.

KQED Public Media is in the Research and Development Phase of developing a multi-year web & broadcast initiative around solar system exploration, stewardship and sustainability.

We're convening 30-40 people, divided into 4-6 teams, across (but not limited to) the following areas of expertise and interest:

  • 3-D modelers and animators (Maya, 3.js, AutoCAD or similar)
  • Educators / Curriculum developers
  • JavaScript / HTML / CSS coders
  • Science Content Developers
  • PHP and CMS experts (WordPress / Drupal )
  • Graphic / Front-end Designers
  • Documentary storytellers
  • DIY space innovators
  • NASA or other space agency researchers
  • Space scientists
  • Online Community organizers
  • Video / audio editors (FCP, Premiere)

Anyone may propose a project prior to the event. We're seeding the discussion with a few projects of our own:

Challenge 1: Mars Colony Greenhouse Simulator

Although Mars Colonists will be bringing many of their supplies with them on their 18-month round trip, they will need to generate a ready supply of fresh food and oxygen. One solution being developed at the University of Arizona are autonomous, bio-regenerative greenhouses, which could be sent ahead of the colonists, deploy themselves autonomously, and provide a sustainable source of food and oxygen upon their arrival. Example:

Using an existing 3-D model, open source 3-D and interactive media tools from Mozilla, video media shot by KQED, and real data from NASA, can we hack together a prototype online experience where participants learn what it takes to provide fresh food and oxygen on Mars?

Challenge 2: Solar System Exploration & Stewardship Challenge Web presence

What might a web presence for a multi-year web & broadcast initiative around solar system exploration, stewardship and sustainability look like?

Can we use open-source web development tools and CMS platforms to create a framework beyond web, broadcast and social media content, that encourages and supports the assembling of teams to participate in regular, real-world and simulated Mars Exploration challenges, at several levels?  Levels from informal social activities all the way up to sophisticated, deadline-driven engineering challenges?


  • Generate a handful of ideas and proofs-of-concept that will inform KQED's planning and initial outreach.
  • Test Mozilla media making technology tools and MX's 3-D interactive curriculum ideas.
  • Meet and share ideas with like-minded science education and outreach professionals.


Yes, lunch, drinks and snacks will be provided.


Yes - Mozilla is planning to invite us over to their headquarters for demos and drinks on the evening of June 20th.


Limited travel stipends available - please contact organizer for details.


Have questions about Teaching Mars: Hackathon? Contact KQED
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When & Where

2601 Mariposa St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM - Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

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