NASA provides a payout of $35,000 to find harmful Algal blooms.
The winner will be awarded $12,000. The second and third prizes are worth $9,000 or $6,000.
The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers $10,000 in cash rewards to identify harmful algal blooms on photos captured from space.
The contest is called “Tick Tick Bloom’ contestants must study satellite images of bodies of water in the inland regions to find and categorize algal blooms according to their intensity. The winner will win $12,000. The second and third prizes are worth $9,000 and $6,000
. The top five winners have to write an article about the methods used, and bonus prizes of between $2,000 and $1,000 will be awarded to the two top articles, NASA said.
Participants can check out the top leaderboards here. The contest will run through the 17th of February.
The environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council, Algae relies on sun for its growth. A high concentration of algae in the water bodies causes the formation of an algae bloom.
A harmful bloom of algae (HAB) produces harmful toxic substances that can harm human beings, as well as other species and can harm marine ecosystems due to blocking oxygen and sunlight.
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The most frequently observed freshwater HABs that are found in the United States are due to the cyanobacteria that can create toxic cyanotoxins. Changes in climate have led to the more frequent formation of HABs.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the toxins created by HABs are absorbed through the skin, or consumed through food items that contain contaminated ingredients which can cause the flu-like symptoms and skin irritations, as well as abnormal breathing, stomach symptoms, and even paralysis. The death of a patient or a person can occur in certain instances.
Typically hand-sampling water or “in-situ” sampling is conducted to find Cyanobacteria. Since this method requires a significant amount of time and effort, competition is used to develop algorithms for computers to detect blooms of algae.
NASA stated that this will lead to more accuracy and speedier time for water quality professionals to complete their tasks on a larger scale.