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About NASA App Development Challenge

The NASA App Development Challenge (ADC), a Next Gen STEM activity, is a coding challenge in which NASA presents technical problems to middle and high school students seeking student contributions to deep space exploration missions. The ADC, in cooperation with NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program, is one of NASA’s Artemis Student Challenges, whose mission is to build foundational knowledge and introduce students to topics, techniques, and technologies critical to the success of the agency’s Artemis program. By responding to the ADC, students take a part directly in the Artemis Generation endeavors to land American astronauts, including the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.

In this year’s challenge, teams of middle school or high school teams have 10 weeks to submit a video showcasing their app to visualize the South Pole region of the Moon utilizing lunar terrain data and display essential information for navigation and communication. Teams with favorable submissions advance to present their app in an interview with NASA subject matter experts from the SCaN team. On conclusion of the interviews, NASA will select Top Teams for a culminating event experience in April 2024.

The challenge begins on October 4, 2023, and concludes with video submission on December 13, 2023.

Please note: Information about the challenge will remain posted for use in educational settings beyond the challenge end date.

Review the Challenge

Student teams must:

  • Use any programming language (Java, C#, C++, Scratch, etc.) to complete development of an application.
  • Adhere to the policies of their school districts or organizations regarding participation in the challenge.
  • Submit a video of original student-led work about the completed app.
  • Complete program requirements as identified by the ADC team.

Middle school teams must:

  • Be able to process and read all provided position and slope data of the lunar South Pole region
  • Display all position and slope data in some meaningful form beyond text.
  • Visualize a path accounting for mission planning goals and identify communication link check points.

High school teams must:

  • Be able to process and read all provided position and slope data of the lunar South Pole region.
  • Identify and explain a selection for a landing and destination site, as well as areas of interest along the path.
  • Display height and slope data some meaningful form beyond text.
  • Visualize a path accounting for mission planning goals and identify communication link check points.
  • Calculate and display elevation and azimuth angles.

Review the Timeline

  • September 27: STEM Gateway Registration Closes
  • October 2: Lead Teacher Training
  • October 4: Live Virtual Kickoff Event
  • October 18: Live Virtual Connection: Creating a 3D Mesh
  • November 8: Live Virtual Connection: Way Finding and Calculations
  • November 29: Live Virtual Connection: Human Factors, Virtual Reality Applications, and Employee Profile
  • December 13: ADC Video Submission Deadline

Review the Eligibility Requirements and Form a Team

  • Formal or informal U.S. education organizations may participate.
  • Signed letter of support from principal or administrator of your organization must be submitted during registration to confirm participation.
  • Teams may be a middle school team or a high school team. Student participants must be on one team only.
    • All members of a middle school team must be in grades 5–8 during the 2023–2024 school year.
    • All members of a high school team must be in grades 9–12 during the 2023–2024 school year.
  • Teams must be led by a sponsor or educator (i.e., Lead Teacher) from an informal or formal U.S. education organization
  • The minimum team size is 5 students and 1 Lead Teacher. There is no maximum team size.
  • If selected as a Top Team invited to the culminating event at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston teams must meet the following:
    • Only 5 student team members, the Lead Teacher and one chaperone may travel. The chaperone must be a part of the organization and opposite gender of the Lead Teacher if both genders are represented within the student team.
    • All participants that travel must be U.S. citizens.
    • Student members must be aged 13 or above during travel.
    • Organization chaperones are fully responsible for their students during the culminating event.
    • Traveling participants will use provided housing and transportation. Participants are responsible for meal expenses. Light snacks and drinks will be provided.
    • Participants will attend all scheduled events or planned activities during the culminating event.
    • Teams will conduct a technical presentation for NASA personnel.
    • Comingling of personal travel arrangements or travel arrangements for nonparticipants is not permitted.
    • All team members must participate fully according to the challenge guidelines.

Review the Handbook and Go! 

NASA 2024 App Development Challenge Handbook

Email NASA’s ADC team at with any questions.