In 2007, a small group of people began an intentional, collaborative experiment in open, transparent, and direct communication about your space program. Our goal was to enable your direct participation in exploring and contributing to NASA’s mission.

Many of us have since begun new adventures. This site will remain as an archive of the accomplishments of the openNASA experiment.

Nick Skytland

NASA (and space exploration in general) has had a huge presence at the SXSW Interactive festival for the past few years, and this year is no different. Here is a list of space-related proposals (in no particular order) that have been submitted for inclusion in this year’s festival.

The SXSW Panelpicker gives the community (you) an opportunity to submit, review, comment and vote on the speaking proposals that they want to see become a part of the event. If you see one that looks interesting to you, make sure to cast your vote by Friday, September 6, 2013. Each voter can vote once per proposal. Don’t forget to leave a constructive comment about what you do or do not like about the proposals you vote on!

If you know of another space related proposal not listed here, please let us know about it in the comments and we’ll add it here.

That’s Hot. Visualizing NASA Climate Science Data

NASA isn’t just sending rovers to Mars and astronauts to the International Space Station. Find out how the space agency is studying our home planet and why it’s working to make the Earth science data it collects understandable and meaningful to the public, policy makers and media. See where NASA’s 16 Earth-orbiting satellites are right now, and learn how their data can be viewed on your phone, often within hours of being collected. Hear from communicators and designers working with climate change scientists to put a planet’s worth of information in your hand via mobile apps, interactive websites, near real-time visualizations, and social media. Plus, get a sneak peek at NASA Earth-observing missions launching in 2014-2015. Earth is changing. We’re on it.

Sx(NxEx)SW: A Manifesto for Global Collaboration

Creating change is at the heart of our technology community. Citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs from all over the world are collaboratively creating, building and inventing new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities and our countries. We are excited to tell the story of how you inspire people to work together across the globe and across disciplines on a shared vision that emerges out of the making culture. With experience leading some of the world’s largest hackathons, and diverse local events in music, science and STEAM, we will show how you can make a collaboration work on a practical level but more importantly how learning can be acted on locally after the events over by keeping the community engaged over the long term.

Live From Space!

Remember when the public had to watch Walter Cronkite and the evening news to learn what NASA was doing? Yeah, neither do we. Today, using technology you can connect and collaborate with NASA and astronauts directly from space.

During this session, we’ll connect live with astronauts flying 240 miles above the Earth at 17,500 mph. Ask about their mission and using technology to communicate with us down here on the ground.

Additionally, you’ll discover how NASA has fundamentally changed the way it communicates with the public and how you can join the community of space geeks from around the world.

It’s Not Rocket Science: UX for Niche Communities

User experience design typically focuses on creating meaningful experiences that will affect as many people as possible. Startups covet reaching critical mass; success for larger companies is often measured in tens of millions, and designs are created accordingly. But what if your system is only for five users? What if you had to support a complex and mature process that, if captured incorrectly, could lead to astronomical disaster? Welcome to the world of UX design for NASA’s safety communities. In this talk, we’ll give you a look into the design team working on support tools for the ISS and future exploration missions. The problem space may be space problems, but that doesn’t mean the difficulties encountered are alien. In this session, we’ll discuss how working at a small scale affects research, testing, analytics, and design. We’ll show how human-centered design practices impact our everyday work and how personal communication can save or destroy a project of any size.

(How to Prevent) Death by Beadledom

If you a) are alive and b) have a job, it’s likely that you have or will find yourself working in or dealing with a bureaucracy. Oh, the joys of being an adult! It is said that an efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty that we know. It is increasingly clear that the fate of the universe will come to depend more and more on individuals like you - slayers of bureaucracy - as the this dark force slowly permeates every corner of our existence. We have no other choice but to do something about it. This session will not only provide you with a survival guide to keep yourself alive when beadledom is near but it will also equip you with a strategic plan to cut through the red tape and slay the ugliest of dragons.

The future of all humanity and the end of the world is at stake. We need your help.

How to Hack Hacking: Make the world a [freespace]

Hackathons are getting out of control. However, this flood of 48 hour frantic coding sessions are spawning national and global collaborations resulting in not just new apps and projects (and a job opportunity in the case of one of the speakers) but also lasting social change.

[ freespace ] was able to obtain a lease for a 14,000 sq ft building for \$1 for the month of June, and showed the possibility of civic improvement and community-building when people have a space to come together in and share, collaborate, and create.

Despite this deluge of short, international shots of weekend collaboration, desired social change needs a lot of time and the inclusion of a cross section of planetary shareholders to occur. The [ freespace ] model of collaboration uses the power that the community holds to transform a neighbourhood by activating empty space. Hear from our panelists on how the [ freespace ] is helping to revolutionise collaboration as we know it.

Hanging Out with NASA

Hanging Out on Google+ with NASA has allowed you to get a unique perspective on America’s space agency. In this session, we’ll explore how Google+ Hangouts on Air have embedded the taxpaying public into mission operations, breathtaking scientific discoveries, and agency events like never before. From Hangouts on Air with Astronauts on the International Space Station to preparations for flying a scientific aircraft through a hurricane, NASA’s use of Google+ Hangouts on Air have brought out of the world experiences to large audiences. We’ll take a look at the keys to our success and the challenges we faced along the way. So come, hangout with NASA!

First Signs: Finding Life on Another Planets

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s most ambitious scientific experiment. It is the successor to the iconic Hubble Space Telescope, and will be 100x more powerful. The Webb Telescope, taller than a four-story building, is designed to answer some of the most puzzling scientific questions that humankind faces today. “How did the Universe form?”, “Is our Solar System unique?”, and “Are we alone?” Webb will answer these questions, and many more, by taking the deepest and clearest pictures of the cosmos to date. But JWST is not alone. JWST discoveries will rely on the findings of precursor telescopes like Kepler, which has already discovered dozens of Earth-size planets, or the upcoming WFIRST and TESS missions. Our panel will examine the important contributions these telescopes will make in the search for life in the Universe, and set the stage for how JWST could find the first signs of life on another planet.

Entrepreneurs in Bureaucracy: Military Innovators

Returning from a decade of war, emerging military leaders had been required to innovate their way through countless cross-cultural interactions while deployed overseas. Stateside life has proved otherwise, as bureaucratic realities crush combat-tested, entrepreneurial minded officers. Recognizing this, junior officers have self-assembled to create ad hoc, informal advocacy organizations within the military to promote outside-the-box solutions. Groups such as Disruptive Thinkers and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum have galvanized lumbering military institutions to look to Start Up culture in motivating the Millennial Generation.

This panel will explore the challenges faced and lessons learned by junior officers and enlisted personnel pushing Information Age solutions through an Industrial Age hierarchy. Their stories of being both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs will give valuable lessons to those desiring to navigate and innovate within large, established organizations.

Building Next-Generation User Experiences at NASA

People imagine space software to be sleek and modern. But the tools NASA use today look nothing like their Star Trek counterparts. Instead, they’re text-based, neon-colored, and complicated with age. This is a shame, but it’s also an opportunity. We’re a small design team within NASA, working to break this trend. We want the interfaces astronauts, scientists, and astronomers interact with to be just as cool as we all dream them to be. We’ve redesigned systems for the Mars Curiosity Rover, the Kepler Space Telescope, and the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. Join us in this session to see some of this work, and to learn how we’re pushing NASA forward to the touch and gesture based future.

Are We Smarter than the Dinosaurs?

66 million years ago, the dinosaurs had a very, very bad day thanks to an asteroid at least 10 km wide. Since 1998, NASA has led the global effort to find potentially hazardous asteroids, and has successfully found 95 percent of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 1km within the last 15 years. But the work is not over, and it will take a global effort with innovative solutions through participatory engagement to complete the survey of smaller, but still potentially hazardous asteroids. NASA’s Grand Challenge to “find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them” will employ open innovation tactics “on steroids”. NASA has a rich history of using prizes and crowdsourcing to engage more than the usual suspects in solving hard problems. This session will explore how a “new NASA” and open innovation can meaningfully engage people in space, provide funding opportunities to developers, makers & entrepreneurs, and help us solve problems of global importance.