Research Rovers: AI Research Assistants for NASA

Help NASA assess emerging capabilities for AI-based research assistants. #science

$30,000 in prizes
oct 2023
293 joined


In this challenge, you will prototype and demo an AI-based research assistant solution for the NASA workforce.

Like many of us who depend on technical and scientific literature in our own work, NASA researchers need to understand the state of research in a particular domain or multiple domains. They are also often faced with the daunting task of becoming familiar with a body of literature that they don't have prior experience with. Whether you are an academic doing your own research, a data scientist exploring new machine learning techniques, or anyone else delving into a field of study that's new to them, this problem may feel very familiar.

With the AI Assistants challenge, NASA is seeking innovative approaches to help assess emerging capabilities in AI-based research assistants. Here's how it works.

đź’ˇ Your solution: A list of research assistant tasks is provided on the Problem Description, covering areas such as literature summarization, citation analysis, recommender systems and more. You will be able to choose one or more of these tasks to address with your solution. You will submit a video demonstrating your solution, along with a short writeup providing additional detail. Videos are not expected to be highly professional or polished, but should clearly demonstrate the value of your solution. You are also permitted to make one midpoint submission to get initial feedback on your proposed solution.

🏅 Judging and prizes: A panel of NASA experts will judge solutions, with prizes awarded to the 4 highest ranked solutions overall. Solutions may make use of third-party software and services, provided that these dependencies are documented in your submission (see the challenge rules). Finally, you are welcome to use large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT as part of your solution, but there is no requirement to use LLMs.

We hope that this challenge can help unlock new ways to understand the vast and growing body of human knowledge, for researchers at NASA and beyond!

Get started

Interested in being a part of it? Follow the steps below to get going:

  1. Click on the "Compete!" button in the sidebar.
  2. Read through the Problem Description, paying special attention to the research assistant tasks that you want to address with your solution.
  3. Review the competition rules.
  4. Start tinkering and developing. We have a list of resources and data sources that might be helpful here.
  5. Ask questions and share insights on the forum. Consider forming a team with people you know or other participants in the DrivenData community.
  6. (Optional) Submit a short description of your solution midway through the competition to receive initial feedback from judges.
  7. Submit your video and writeup before the challenge ends on October 2, 2023.

Prizes and Timeline

Place Prize Amount
1st $13,000
2nd $8,000
3rd $5,000
4th $4,000
Challenge End Date:
Oct. 2, 2023, 11:59 p.m. UTC

Prizes will be awarded for the 4 highest-ranked submissions. See judging criteria here.

In order to recieve a prize, winners will need to submit additional code and documentation. Winners will also be asked to participate in a live, virtual event to demonstrate their winning solutions to judges and respond to questions.

This challenge is in collaboration with the NASA Tournament Lab.

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Challenge Rules

Rules are in place to promote fair competition and useful solutions. If you are ever unsure whether your solution adheres to the challenge rules, ask the challenge organizers in the competition forum or send an email to

Prize Eligibility for NASA and Federal Employees

NASA Employees are prohibited by Federal statutes and regulations from receiving an award under this Challenge. NASA Employees are still encouraged to submit a solution. If you are a NASA Employee and wish to submit a solution please contact Vance Benton ( who will connect you with the NASA Challenge owner. If your solution meets the requirements of the Challenge, any attributable information will be removed from your submission and your solution will be evaluated with other solutions found to meet the Challenge criteria. Based on your solution, you may be eligible for an award under the NASA Awards and Recognition Program or other Government Award and Recognition Program if you meet the criteria of both this Challenge and the applicable Awards and Recognition Program.

If you are an Employee of another Federal Agency, contact your Agency's Office of General Counsel regarding your ability to participate in this Challenge.

If you are a Government contractor or are employed by one, your participation in this challenge may also be restricted. If you are or your employer is receiving Government funding for similar projects, you or your employer are not eligible for award under this Challenge. Additionally, the U.S. Government may have Intellectual Property Rights in your solution if your solution was made under a Government Contract, Grant or Cooperative Agreement. Under such conditions, you may not be eligible for award.

Images courtesy of NASA [1|2|3|4].