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SXSW Interactive 2014

Building Next-Generation User Experiences at NASA

People imagine space software to be sleek and modern. But the tools NASA use today look nothing like their Star Trek counterparts. Instead, they're text-based, neon-colored, and complicated with age. This is a shame, but it's also an opportunity.
We're a small design team within NASA, working to break this trend. We want the interfaces astronauts, scientists, and astronomers interact with to be just as cool as we all dream them to be. We've redesigned systems for the Mars Curiosity Rover, the Kepler Space Telescope, and the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Join us in this session to see some of this work, and to learn how we're pushing NASA forward to the touch and gesture based future.

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  1. Why doesn't space software look as cool as it does in science fiction?
  2. How is a small team at NASA working to change this? Are they succeeding?
  3. What happens when you build Pinterest for the Mars Curiosity Rover team?
  4. What happens when you visualize thousands of earth-like planets and put it on a giant touch screen?
  5. What happens when you create a live 3D model of a lunar orbiter?


  • Sam Hashemi, Product Lead & Designer, NASA
  • Steve Hillenius, UX Researcher & Designer, NASA


Sam Hashemi, Product Lead & Designer, NASA

Meta Information:

  • Tags: space
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Science and Space Exploration
  • Level: Intermediate
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