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Join the Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge and Be Part of a Brighter Future

Join the Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge and Be Part of a Brighter Future

On Wednesday, November 15, the Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge—aimed at making Earth observation data accessible to everyone—officially kicked off.

Participants are called upon to be part of the open science revolution by unlocking the full potential of satellite Earth observation data and by creating more inclusive and collaborate workflows that capitalize on the inherently interdisciplinary nature of Earth remote sensing.

A young girl with long brown hair opens a jar of fireflies that blend in with the stars.

The Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge was developed by NASA and the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna (UNVIE) in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). By harnessing creative brainpower across disciplines and making Earth observation data more accessible, the challenge aims to improve outcomes for future generations and to find new solutions to global dilemmas. In particular, the challenge focuses on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, and Climate Action.

Earth observation data provide accurate information about our planet’s ecosystems, land cover, built environment, oceans, and atmosphere. The U.S. government makes most data collected by its Earth observation satellites freely available to anyone, anywhere. In celebration of the 2023 Year of Open Science and NASA’s new Transform to Open Science (TOPS) initiative, the Pale Blue Dot Visualization Challenge is calling all data users, coders, entrepreneurs, community activists, social scientists, and solvers from all walks of life to participate in this novel data science challenge—creating new data visualizations that use Earth observation data to address food security, access to clean water, and climate action.

All prize-winning submissions will be released under an open-source license, allowing the world to use and learn from the effort. Anyone 18 or older is eligible to participate. Best Overall teams will be awarded travel, lodging, and tuition expenses paid for UNVIE’s 10-day Space Exchange program, including adult Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama and an opportunity to talk about the future of space exploration with policymakers and innovators in Washington, DC. Past Space Exchange program activities have included Zero-G experiences and visits to the White House, State Department, and NASA.

The Pale Blue Dot Visualization challenge is open to solvers at all skill levels and is a great way to grow your data science skills and learn how to follow open science practices like making code sharable and reproducible. Winners will be recognized and cited on the DrivenData website.

Join the competition and find challenge details and resources at


Submission deadline is Jan. 26, 2024.


Curator’s Note: We’re excited to see what you come up with, and here at Landsat, we’re especially excited to see submissions that capitalize on Landsat data. The opening of the Landsat data archive in 2008 was a watershed moment for remote sensing. The open data and open science trend continues for the benefit of everyone on our planet.


Related Reading

Related References

Wulder, Michael A., Jeffrey G. Masek, Warren B. Cohen, Thomas R. Loveland, and Curtis E. Woodcock. 2012. Opening the archive: How free data has enabled the science and monitoring promise of Landsat.”  Remote Sensing of Environment 122:2-10. doi:

Zhu, Zhe, Michael A. Wulder, David P. Roy, Curtis E. Woodcock, Matthew C. Hansen, Volker C. Radeloff, Sean P. Healey, Crystal Schaaf, Patrick Hostert, Peter Strobl, Jean-Francois Pekel, Leo Lymburner, Nima Pahlevan, and Ted A. Scambos. 2019. Benefits of the free and open Landsat data policy.”  Remote Sensing of Environment 224:382-385. doi:

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