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NASA Mars Pics API

Concept

NASA provides many publicly available APIs. One of them returns photos gathered by rovers sent to Mars. Unfortunately, many photos are relatively dull (you can read about it in this post). This program is supposed to gather the links to photos, check if they might contain interesting content, and then display a random photo when a URL is accessed.

Setup

Clone this repository, then create a .env file:

DATABASE_URL=postgresql://nasa:nasa@db:5432/nasa
NASA_API_KEY={YOUR_NASA_API_KEY}

You can apply for a NASA API key here. Without it, a DEMO_KEY value will be used, which does not provide adequate performance (you will not be allowed to access the API frequently enough to index the data).

You can build and run the project using docker-compose:

docker-compose build
docker-compose up

Usage

To index the data run:

docker exec -it nasa-mars-pics-api_web_1 python index_photos.py

This will run a loop that accesses NASA API, saves the image links in the database, and checks the attributes of images (size and color mode) to decide if they are worth displaying.

To get a random image, access http://localhost:8888. You will probably need to wait a moment before the first acceptable image becomes available, until then you will receive a 500 Internal Server Error.

Deploying to Heroku

You can easily run this on Heroku. You need to add Heroku Postgres add-on and provide the same 2 config vars as in the .env file

Demo

Demo is available here. Keep in mind that, since it's Heroku and the application falls asleep after a while , it can take a while for the first image to be shown.

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