NASA is inviting all citizens of planet Earth to take part in a two-day coding marathon next month. Called the International Space Apps Challenge, the idea is to develop software for various purposes to support NASA's mission. It is open to just about anyone interested, including "engineers, technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, students, and entrepreneurs." The challenge will take place in several cities on all continents around the globe, including San Francisco, Santo Domingo, Sao Paulo, Nairobi, Tokyo and even on Antarctica at McMurdo Station.

There are several challenges being put forth on their website, including developing hand-held hardware for upcoming space missions, determining the size of the Earth itself, access to a variety of NASA datasets and observations, and design a consistent open data API for NASA. Other challenges will be added as we get closer to launch time. The event is being held as partly to demonstrate NASA's efforts towards open government initiatives, as well as to capture the attention of people who may not have any prior interest in space exploration.

The Earth measurement app will accomplish several things, for example, including how to take a noontime solar location fix, share that observation with others, and demonstrate how far off the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes was in his measurement thousands of years ago.