The Challenge was about taking the big astronomical data at Minor Planet Center, the nerve center for asteroid detection for NASA and making it available to larger public; To the average person who doesn’t know any astronomy or understand the science of dealing with data and basically want this data to become information so that general public can come to the Minor Planet Center site and learn about asteroids.
Oracle in collaboration with Minor Planet Center delivered Asteroid Explorer a tool that explores the relationships between asteroid data sets by filtering them through commonly asked questions: Which asteroids have the highest risk of impacting earth? Which asteroids are most likely to hit.
The usage of exploratory visuals offered the viewer many dimensions to a data set, and also compare multiple data sets with each other. A perfect outcome for one of the primary goals, to increase public knowledge.
Mike has worked at the MPC since 2009 as an IT Specialist. He created the MPC's public facing relational database, web interface and related pages. He is presently engaged in modernizing the MPC observation processing, orbit computation and related operations.
He received an SB in Mathematics from MIT in 1977, and has been engaged in computer programming ever since. During the 1980s he undertook a visual comet hunting project and discovered three comets with the aid of a 6-inch refractor.
The Minor Planet Center, or MPC, is the single worldwide location for receipt and distribution of positional measurements of minor planets, comets and outer irregular natural satellites of the major planets. The MPC is responsible for the identification, designation and orbit computation for all of these objects. This involves maintaining the master files of observations and orbits, keeping track of the discoverer of each object, and announcing discoveries to the rest of the world via electronic circulars and an extensive website. The MPC operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, under the auspices of Division F of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Asteroid Explorer and Oracle Applications User Experience
As a Senior Director, DJ Ursal (@djursal) leads the social innovation initiative for Application User Experience Group. With passion for bringing simplicity of design to social causes, the OAUX Social Innovation Initiative brings Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team members and other Oracle entrepreneurs together to focus on non-profit projects designed to help raise awareness for various social causes and deepen the impact of these non-profit ventures.
DJ is responsible for driving the overall product strategy and roadmap and communications. DJ is currently pursuing his MBA degree from Jack Welch Management School of Business and has a BS degree in electronics engineering with advance computing.
In his spare time, he loves doing photography and hiking with his dog WALL-E