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September 21, 2015

Contest: Hack Mars for The Martian and you may win $25,000

Can you help Mark Watney (Matt Damon) survive on Mars and help him return to Earth? If you can, you could win $25,000 USD.

Hacking Mars: Stay alive from Microsoft Design on Vimeo.

As you’re no doubt aware, Mars is an inhospitable planet. With no water, food, and breathable atmosphere, “The Martian” must survive using extremely limited resources. The new film comes out on October 2.

Microsoft has teamed up with 20th Century Fox, which made the film, to create the Hacking Mars Design Challenge. This challenge encourages you and your team to come up with solutions to help Watney on the Red Planet. Mark’s progress is visualized on a new interactive Mars map–built using Bing.

Prizes include $25,000 USD and a Microsoft Prize Pack (Xbox One, Microsoft Band, Surface), which includes technology to make your design real, and a trip to Microsoft headquarters near Seattle where you’ll participate in a design session with a team of experts and a Walk on Mars with Microsoft HoloLens.

Teams consist of up to three people and each person should have a different area of expertise such as design, engineering, psychology, and programming to provide a range of technical know-how.

Whatever your solution is, it must be for one purpose: to help a wide range of people—not just Mark—survive in a world of extreme constraints.

The implication here is that while Mark Watney is a fictional character and doesn’t really need to be saved, your solution may in fact help people here on Earth living in difficult conditions.

So, whether your solution is software-based and runs on a PC, tablet, or Lumia, how can it help somebody survive?

Additionally, if your idea is more physical, how might somebody use it and how would it work in an extreme environment?

Once your team has come up with that eureka design, submit it via a three to five-minute video that explains and shows off any examples you may have created.

Deadline for submissions is October 13 at 11:59PM EST and three finalist teams will be announced October 24. The grand prize-winning team will be notified in early November and announced mid-November.

Check out the Hacking Mars site for all the terms and conditions, additional details and to submit your idea.

Are you going to #HackMars?