CYPRUS: Two teenage Cypriots win NASA challenge on space colonisation

3 mins read

Two 14-year-old Cypriot pupils won first prize in a global competition run by NASA in the SpaceApps Challenge.

The competition in Nicosia took place in the presence of NASA Chief scientist Dr James Green, who mentored the teams.

This year NASA offered an exclusive prize only for Cyprus that no other country had. The special challenge for Cyprus was about space colonisation.

Teams had to prepare and present a project which included designing a list of requirements for countries to contribute, decide how many people from each country or state should participate, structure a leadership and governance for the colony(ies), design a social structure.

The first prize was awarded to team ASRocket consisting of Athena Vourgos and Savvas Michaelangelo Agisilaou.

President of the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation, George Danos told CNA that the winning team “did a thorough project that amazed the judges, especially the NASA judge”.

The teams had one weekend to think about their project and 10 minutes to present it before the judges.

NASA offered the winning team the unique opportunity to visit the Marshall Space Flight Centre where astronauts are trained, while three more teams will visit the Rocket and Space Centre.  All teams will be given the chance to train like astronauts for one week.

"Once again, we see that there is much potential in this country. Cyprus can excel, and we are making sure that we provide the right stimulus and springboard to help our talented youth to reach for the stars,” Danos said.

In addition to the Cyprus challenge, one Cyprus team will represent the country in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge. The team chose to work on an international challenge regarding air pollution.

Cyprus has so far in just five years, managed two global wins and a second place at the International stage of this hackathon. The Cypriot winning teams had the honour to be invited by NASA to the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.

NASA Space Apps is the prime international hackathon on space that occurs in over 200 cities around the world. Coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and space enthusiasts come together to address challenges faced on Earth via space solutions.