International NASA Space Apps Challenge

There was tough competition at this year’s 48 hourSpace Apps Challengewhich launched at 9.00 on Saturday 12 April.  Five teams spent the weekend on campus to create a practical yet innovative solution to one of the forty challenges posed by NASA in five key areas – Earth Watch, Human Spaceflight, Technology in Space, Robotics and Asteroids.

The presentations and judging took place on the Monday evening after a welcome from the Design and Creative Technologies Dean, Prof Desna Jury.  The US Embassy provided refreshments and the US Consul General Jim Donegan was one of our judges along with Richard Fraser, GM Solutions & Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent and Candace Kinser, CEO NZ Technology Industry Association.

The winning team Duct Tape built an app to turn an android or linux based smartphone into a micro satellite – in line with the trend to replace big budget satellites with low cost CubeSats or mini satellites.  Team Duct Tape combined the talents of three students from Massey (mechatronics engineering) and one from University of Auckland (product development).

Runners up Asteroid M transported to the year 2200 where Earth II has been colonised.  They created a tycoon style strategy app game for mining asteroids.  On the team were last year’s winners Eleanor Da Fonseca, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, mobile backing solutions technicians Boris FĂ©ron and Weixiong Cen and University of Auckland information systems student Faizev Hussein (also a competitor last year).

The judges also highly recommended the solution created by team Tetris (AUT engineering students) where they demonstrated a light weight astronaut sleeve with imbedded technology to monitor the astronaut’s physical state and environment.

Team Crop Tool (product design) and Team Noobrs (computer science) came up with credible solutions.  These were, respectively, building a deployable living quarters and hydroponics lab and developing an app guessing game for the Where on Earth Challenge.

The winning team Duct Tape was presented with a trophy and iTune vouchers. The runners up Asteroid M also received iTune vouchers.  Both then prepared brief videos of their apps for submission to the international competition.

Contact us


Professor Sergei Gulyaev

Deputy Director

Tim Natusch