NASA has announced the winners for this year’s Artemis Next-Gen STEM – Moon to Mars App Development Challenge, and Indian high school Student Aryan Jain is part of the team that won the prestigious coding challenge. In this year’s challenge, NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) required students to develop an app that could help in mission planning and exploration activities of the Lunar South Pole. Jain is part of “Team Unity” which included other students Anika Patel, Andy Wang, Franklin Ho, Jennifer Xiong, Justin Ji, and Vedika Kothari, representing a joint team of 5 different global schools led by Whitney High School, USA. The Team Unity has now been invited to virtually engage with industry leaders and the NASA leadership in February.
Team Unity developed the app using cross-platform gaming engine Unity and programmed it in C#. Some of the features for the app include a mini map that would allow astronauts to see their position from an orthographic view which helps gauge progress along the path between the landing site and destination and an option for the astronaut to toggle between the first person and third person viewing perspectives. The app has pathfinding options, terrain textures and 3D scenes. To create the app, the team used the lunar South Pole terrain data that is available. Jain is a student at the SunCity School Gurugram.
NASA says that the Next Gen STEM has activities focused on NASA’s Exploration Campaign for Moon to Mars. With a focus on NASA’s integrated transportation systems and platforms, namely the Orion capsule, the Space Launch System (SLS Rocket) and the Gateway Lunar Outpost. These challenges are part of the mission to land the first woman astronaut and the next batch of astronauts on the moon by 2024.