Local team vying for Nasa award

10 May 2013 - 03:21 By MHLABUNZIMA MEMELA
Earth. File photo
Earth. File photo

Four South Africans are reaching for the stars with a mobile application that has made the finals of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Space Apps challenge.

Cosmic Hub - an application developed by Thami Zulu, a designer from KwaNongoma; Bonga Nkosi, a mathematician from Vryheid; Melvin Musehani, a mobile application developer from Mamelodi; and Stephen Kobue, a software engineer from Rankuwa - is one of the finalists from 800 applications from 44 countries.

The application, which will be hosted on the BlackBerry 10 platform, allows users to identify near-earth objects and provides a simulation of the solar system.

"The app we've developed is to help our people, who don't have equipment like telescopes, to see everything in the airspace," Zulu said yesterday.

The International Space Apps Challenge judging panel will select an overall winner in each category next week.

The developers said they are also relying on the South African public to vote on Twitter for their application to win the People's Choice award.

Nasa's Mars Exploration Programme will offer invitations to the upcoming Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission launch, and the National Aerospace Training and Research Centre will offer Spaceflight training packages to the five best-in-class award winners.