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NASA App Development Challenge Selects Artemis Generation Coders for Virtual Culminating Event

ADC Student Team app images from multiple teams
A visualization of the Moon’s south pole through a student submitted lunar navigation application.

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement has selected students for a virtual event culminating the App Development Challenge (ADC) for secondary students. The challenge invited middle and high school students the opportunity to contribute their code toward deep space exploration missions.

For this challenge, student teams were tasked with coding an app that could help NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) team, which serves as the program office for NASA’s space communications technology.

The SCaN challenge was designed to give students an opportunity to contribute directly to the Artemis Generation endeavors to land American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024. Students were invited to identify potential solutions for visualizing the South Pole region of the Moon using actual NASA data, and displaying essential information for navigation and communication purposes.

Using the application, future NASA moonwalkers might be be able to identify safe routes from a landing location to a destination site in the unforgiving lunar surface environment. Participating teams had the opportunity to learn about the topography of the lunar South Pole, computer programming, trigonometry, and the complexities of remote communication and navigation with Earth-based assets.

NASA concept art image of exploration on the lunar surface
An artist’s rendering of astronauts working on the Moon’s surface.

Teams of middle and high school students across the country had seven weeks to code their apps. Based on their efforts, the following 10 schools were selected to attend a virtual experience in February 2021 to showcase their work and participate in additional activities:  

  • Academies of Loudoun: Leesburg, Virginia
  • Bell Creek Academy High School: Riverview, Florida
  • Bishop O’Connell High School: Arlington, Virginia
  • Falcon Cove Middle School: Weston, Florida
  • Gilman School: Baltimore, Maryland
  • McNeil High School: Austin, Texas
  • Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies: Edison, New Jersey  
  • Millburn High School: Millburn, New Jersey
  • Moore Norman Technology Center: Norman, Oklahoma
  • Gretchen Whitney High School: Cerritos, California