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Taiwan teams bag two gold medals in NASA Space Apps challenge

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Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) congratulated teams from Taipei and Taoyuan on Sunday for winning two of the ten global gold medals in this year’s NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

The competition, commonly known as Space Apps, is an international hackathon in which teams must use NASA’s open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space.

In a social media post on Sunday, AIT praised the wins by Taiwanese teams as “an impressive accomplishment [that] showcases Taiwan’s global leadership in technology and innovation.”

The AIT noted that the Taiwanese teams had competed against over 5,300 teams comprising a record 31,561 participants.

Of the two winners, the Taipei-based What’s New team took first place in the Best Use of Science category for developing a machine learning pipeline to predict the probability of a solar storm event.

The challenge was aimed at providing an early warning of an event similar to the 1859 Carrington Event — the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history — which wreaked havoc on telegraphic communications around the world.

Meanwhile, the Standard NCTU CS Student team, representing Taoyuan, won the competition’s Global Connection award for designing an open-source web application to track the International Space Station (ISS).

According to the project description, the application’s 3D interface depicts the accurate orientation of the ISS — which rotates in orbit in order to always face the sun — as well as displaying all ground stations on Earth and all space debris in the vicinity of the station’s orbit.

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