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Spot Algal Blooms And Win Rs 9 Lakh Prize In NASA's Contest

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: January 24, 2023, 14:40 IST

Delhi, India

NASA hosts unique contest to spot harmful algal blooms. (Image source: Nasa)

NASA hosts unique contest to spot harmful algal blooms. (Image source: Nasa)

With the ‘Tick Tick Bloom’ contest, NASA aims to encourage participants o detect and classify the severity of cyanobacteria blooms in inland water bodies.

NASA is hosting a unique competition to spot harmful algal blooms. The American space agency is offering $30,000 (approximately Rs 24 lakh) in cash prizes to locate algae and cyanobacteria also known as blue-green algae that can sometimes cause harm to people, animals, or the environment. The participants have to spot the harmful algal blooms using satellite images. Calling it ‘Tick Tick Bloom’, NASA stated that the main aim of the contest is to encourage participants to detect and classify the severity of cyanobacteria blooms in small, inland water bodies.

The cash prize for the first position is $12,000 (approximately Rs 9 lakh) followed by the second position with $9000 (approximately Rs 7 lakh). Meanwhile, the person who finishes in the third position will receive $6000 (approximately Rs 4 lakh). The last date to participate in the contest is February 17.

What are harmful algal blooms?

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in the colonies of algae that grow out of control and produce harmful toxins that negatively impact marine life and all living organisms that come in contact with the infected water. These blooms can last for days or even months, sometimes the microbes that decompose the harmful algae also end up generating a ‘dead zone’ which can lead to fish die-offs. When these zones take up a large area, neither fish nor plants can survive.

When are algal blooms considered toxic?

As per Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, blooms are termed harmful when they produce poisonous toxins, become too dense, use up the oxygen in the water, and also release harmful gases. Humans and animals get sick due to the phenomena when they swim or play in contaminated water or eat fish from infected areas. The severity of the sickness is dependent on how a person or animal gets exposed to the harmful toxins, and the duration, type, and quantity of toxins present in their body.

The report also suggests precautionary measures to avert getting infected with harmful toxins by not entering water that smells bad, looks discoloured or has foam and dead fish. When one notices HABs it is advised to report its sighting to local authorities.

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first published:January 24, 2023, 11:58 IST
last updated:January 24, 2023, 14:40 IST
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