A new crowdsourcing challenge provides context to explore the conditions necessary for life on Mars in the past

A new crowdsourcing challenge provides context to explore the conditions necessary for life on Mars in the past

Press release from: DrivenData
Posted: Saturday February 19th 2022

DrivenData, in collaboration with HeroX, announced its new crowdsourcing competition on behalf of NASA: Mars Spectrometry, Detect Evidence for Past Habitability. The challenge, which offers a $30,000 scholarship, seeks innovative methods to automatically help analyze and interpret advanced gas-mass spectrometry analysis data related to Mars exploration. These data come from geological samples of scientific interest to better understand the potential signs of past habitability of the planet.

One of the most important planetary scientific discoveries of recent years is that Mars had environmental conditions that might have been livable in the past. Understanding how these conditions have changed is important for understanding Mars’ habitability conditions over time. For these investigations, several rugged and powerful rovers were sent to Mars to collect rock samples and take measurements that can be used to determine their chemical composition. Additionally, thousands of samples have been analyzed in labs on Earth to help scientists understand the context of the data collected on Mars. By taking advantage of the many supporting experiments performed on comparable rock samples, data science methods can be developed to support scientists in their analysis and interpretation of data collected by planetary mission instruments and laboratory instruments. These advances can also help scientists conduct future mission operations faster and more efficiently.

For this challenge, participants are tasked with creating an innovative method to automatically analyze evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from simulated Mars samples collected on commercial and laboratory instruments analogous to those used for Mars exploration. March. The best methods must be able to detect the presence of certain families of chemical compounds (specified in the challenge) in the samples. The winning techniques can be used to help future planetary missions such as the ExoMars mission and the Dragonfly mission to Titan.

“This supports a fascinating research question where machine learning tools can have a real impact on how we can learn more about our place in the universe,” said Greg Lipstein, director of DrivenData. “This is a great opportunity to harness the collective intelligence and passion of the data community to advance the state of open science.”

“It’s exciting to think that there may be clues to past habitable conditions on Mars that these surveys can help interpret,” said Kal K. Sahota, CEO of HeroX. “These challenges are so inspiring as we search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

The challenge: The methods must detect the presence of certain families of chemical compounds in the data collected when performing EGA-MS on a set of samples of geological materials.

The Prize: A $30,000 purse will be shared among four teams.

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prizes: The prize is open to anyone 18 years of age or older participating as an individual or as a team. Individual competitors and teams may be from any country, as long as US federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (some restrictions apply). Additional eligibility requirements or limitations can be found in the challenge rules.

To accept the challenge, go to https://mars.drivendata.org/


DrivenData is a social enterprise dedicated to bringing industry-transforming data tools and methods to the world’s biggest challenges. As part of this work, the DrivenData competition platform channels the skills and passion of data scientists, researchers and other quantitative experts to create solutions for social good. These online machine learning challenges are designed to engage a large community of experts, connect participants to real-world data problems, and highlight their best solutions.

Check out our past competitions and learn more at www.drivedata.org


HeroX is a platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE founder and futurist Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that helps anyone, anywhere solve everyday business and global challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as a social network for innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and manage your own audience.

Check out the latest challenges at www.herox.com

Media Contact:

Alexandra Pony

[email protected]



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