Here's why the Freelancer (ASX:FLN) share price is surging 7% today

Because NASA knows problems are better solved by a crowd.

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The Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN) share price is performing strongly today. At the time of writing, shares in the crowdsourcing marketplace are swapping hands for $1.20, up 7.1%.

Below we run through the company's latest announcement regarding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Awarded NASA task order

Investors are buying up shares in the freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace platform after the company announced it had secured a NASA contract.

According to the release, the contract is for a US$510,000 task order for the United States Bureau of Reclamation project. This seeks to optimise and speed up an equation solver for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models. In simpler terms, computer-generated simulations.

Freelancer's platform will be used to crowdsource solutions to the Sedimentation and River Hydraulics challenge. The goal is for a freelancer to devise a stable and fast equation for CFD models that can run on a multi-core personal computer.

Chief Executive Matt Barrie commented on the contract win:

To date, NASA has sourced over 13,000 product designs from more than 6,000 product designers. We're excited to help Reclamation and NASA improve the speed of Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Model using the world's largest online talent in what will be the new largest challenge yet by an order of magnitude.

Furthermore, the prize money allotted to the successful freelancer is US$300,000. This will be split across two stages, paying US$150,000 each. The first stage will consist of the development and demonstration of a new equation solver.

Subsequently, stage 2 will involve running an existing Reclamation model in parallel with the new solver.

Not its first space rodeo

NASA's crowdsourcing approach is not a new phenomenon. The first round of crowdsourcing contracts rolled out back in 2015. Fast forward to late 2020, the space agency launched its second crack with NASA Open Innovation Services 2.

Notably, Freelancer has had its fair share of NASA contracts in the past. Peering over at the company's website, you can see a range of gadgets and gizmos developed by people on the platform.

In this case, the latest contract is not yet live on the Freelancer platform. The company states it will be launched via a microsite at a date to be announced.

Freelancer share price snapshot

The Freelancer share price has performed exceptionally well year-to-date (YTD). Since the beginning of 2021, the company's shares have rallied an impressive 144%. Comparatively, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has returned 9.2% over the same timeframe.

Lastly, the company's market capitalisation is now $505 million based on the current Freelancer share price.

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Freelancer Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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