A Climate Emergency

We are in a climate emergency.  Without any intervention, the planet may be 4 to 5 degrees warmer by the end of the century, rendering much of the planet mostly uninhabitable with extreme weather, sea level rise, and mass extinctions of life.  We have an urgent need to work together and engage a broader community of researchers and innovators in the region to address the problems created by climate change. 

Today, we have unprecedented access to satellite remote sensing data and technologies that can help us better detect, monitor and measure these changes.  The computational capability to analyze this data today is critical in making better management decisions and creating policies to reverse the damage caused to the Planet.

Leveraging Satellite Data

Satellite remote sensing has been the principal method of monitoring the impact of climate change. New satellite data, and wider access to computing and analysis tools, are enabling researchers to develop new solutions. Setting out a specific climate related challenge, with a deadline, would provide an incentive to researchers and innovators to translate research into practical tools and also encourage new teams to develop their skills to address these challenges.

The prize challenge can be used to reward successful advances in the state-of-the-art while creating opportunities for space education and outreach, and stimulate economic growth and development in the sector.

The Challenge 

University/Startup Level:

Carbon Sequestration

To combat climate change, global reduction of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide is imperative. An important method is to increase the absorption and containment of carbon dioxide through sequestration in biomass such as forest areas. But if satellite technology could be employed to monitor and detect carbon sequestration in other zones (such as native bush, pastures, wetlands, or coastal zones) then incentives could be created for landowners to sequester more carbon through changes in land management. Developing tools that can monitor carbon sequestration could help address climate change on a global scale.

Using satellite data, in combination with other data sources, help develop verifiable methods to measure carbon sequestration on land or in coastal areas.

For example,

  • Can you improve the measurement of carbon sequestration in forests, native bush, pastures, wetlands, or coastal zones?
  • Can you monitor the change in extent of these carbon sequestration zones?

$30,000 NZD Grand Prize Winner
Planet data vouchers equivalent to $15k NZD value (subject to T&C use)
SpaceBase mentorship for 6 months (online and in Christchurch)

High School Level:

Coral Health

Coral reefs harbour Earth’s highest biodiversity, host more than one quarter of all marine fish species, and is the global ecosystem under the greatest threat. Coral reefs are vitally important for global ocean ecology and biodiversity, as well as the food production and economy of coastal communities. But coral reefs are under threat from pollution, overfishing, and the impacts of climate change, including ocean warming and ocean acidification. With the right information, local communities can act to help protect coral reefs. This challenge is to help improve monitoring of coral reef health using satellite technology and help local communities protect coral reefs.

Help improve the monitoring of coral health changes due to climate change using satellite technology.

For example,

  • Can you help distinguish live coral from algae cover with satellite data?
  • Can you help validate coral bleaching hotspots for a local region?

$10,000 NZD Grand Prize Winner

Planet data vouchers equivalent to $15,000 NZD value (subject to T&C use)
Scholarship to the MMAARS Virtual Academy Analog Astronautics Program (Level 1) for all team members