NL Moonshots '24
Author profile picture

NL Moonshots ’24 challenges students of all levels to develop their moonshot: a clever, innovative solution to a challenge we face as a society. Inspired by the unique perspective of an astronaut in space, moonshots can be about anything: from Earth and humanity to technology, artificial intelligence, and more. The contest was announced today, at the annual ESA-ESTEC Open Day during The Space Week at the NL Space Campus.

Astronaut André Kuipers is the Dutch figurehead of the quest. He not only focuses on academic students but also urges secondary and higher vocational school students to participate in the program. Student teams get the chance to work – coached by an astronaut – on an excellent idea for humanity: a moonshot. NL Moonshots ’24 is part of the 35th ASE Planetary Congress, for which over a hundred astronauts will come to the Netherlands next year.

Participating student teams will have access to inspiring events and the right expertise and facilities to develop their moonshot in phases. Astronauts are involved as coaches and experts. For students, this creates a special trajectory from the initial idea in January to the presentation of concrete concepts and prototypes during the ASE Congress in October 2024.

ASE Planetary Congress

The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an association of over four hundred astronauts from 38 countries. During the annual ASE Planetary Congress, they inform a broad audience – especially the younger generation – about the latest developments in space exploration and its possibilities for the future of our society and planet Earth. In 2024, the congress will occur from September 30 to October 6, 2024, in Noordwijk (where the NL Space Campus is located) and Amsterdam.

Eager to join the Moonshots with your student team?

One hundred student teams will engage with one hundred astronauts in next-level Moonshots from January to October 2024. Choose your mission, drop your idea, get inspired, and take your concept forward. Pitch your moonshot idea in front of astronauts, supported by guidance from your astronaut team coach. Registration closes in early January 2024. Discover that the future begins with bold ideas and dreams beyond the stars.
Register here

The program includes content sessions. Most presentations will be open to the public and streamed live. The goal is to enthuse as many people as possible about science, technology, innovation, sustainability, and the space sector. The event will be part of the annual Space Week.

Space challenges

In addition to the Moonshots, André Kuipers and his fellow astronauts will launch an assignment for the 2024/2025 school year to primary and secondary school students during the congress: Space Challenges. After researching, the students will work with space and technology to design and build satellites and rovers. During a “Community Day,” astronauts will visit educational institutions, knowledge institutes, and companies.

“With the NL Moonshots ’24 program, the Astronaut Society is giving its stage to the Next Space Generation throughout 2024,” says André Kuipers, astronaut and host of the ASE congress. “Today’s students are our craftsmen, engineers, and scientists of the future. We desperately need these students and their bright ideas to make life on Earth better, safer, and more sustainable. I am incredibly excited to see what inspiring solutions they come up with.”

The ASE Planetary Congress 2024 and NL Moonshots ’24 are supported by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) with funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. Everyone can follow the proceedings of NL Moonshots ’24 through the website