11/03/2014 07:49 GMT | Updated 11/03/2014 07:59 GMT

Nasa Offers $35,000 If You Can Help Them Spot Asteroids

Nasa has offered data scientists up to $35,000 if they can develop algorithms that can be used to better detect asteroids.

The contest, announced on Nasa's website, aims to find new ways to look for asteroids in space using current hardware.

"For the past three years, Nasa has been learning and advancing the ability to leverage distributed algorithm and coding skills through the Nasa Tournament Lab to solve tough problems," said Jason Crusan, Nasa Tournament Lab director.

"We are now applying our experience with algorithm contests to helping protect the planet from asteroid threats through image analysis.”

The aim to to be able to process data and images captured by ground-based telescopes more effectively. Winning algorithms must increase detection sensitivity, minimise false positives and run on all computer systems.

"Protecting the planet from the threat of asteroid impact means first knowing where they are,” said Jenn Gustetic, Prizes and Challenges Program executive. “By opening up the search for asteroids, we are harnessing the potential of innovators and makers and citizen scientists everywhere to help solve this global challenge.”