We hosted the LUNA final competition

Published: 18. 06. 2024

The LUNA International Competition for Space Entrepreneurship for Youth proudly announces the winners of its 2024 event, held at the Czech Technical University in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. This prestigious competition brought together young innovators from Israel, Turkey, Nigeria, and the Czech Republic.

Grand Winner: Project Aquarius, Yoana Jabotinsky Youth Village, Israel
The top prize was awarded to Project Aquarius, conceived by a talented group of students (grades 8-9). Their groundbreaking project features a nuclear storehouse and an autonomous robot designed to drill at the Martian poles, turning water into ice—a necessary adaptation for Mars where standard melting is impossible. Utilizing renewable energy sources such as solar energy and nuclear fission, the project also promises applications as an advanced desalination plant for remote areas on Earth. This victory marks the second consecutive year Yoana has secured first place in this competition.

Second Place: Ice Breaker, Ulus Private Jewish School, Turkey.
Second place was awarded to Ice Breaker, conceived by students (grades7-9). Their project revolutionizes energy generation on Mars by enhancing the efficiency and reliability of photovoltaic solar panels. The innovative "ice breaker & hot repellent pv" incorporates cutting-edge technologies like nano-coating to prevent dust and mud buildup, thermoelectric modules using the Peltier and Seebeck effects for temperature management, and additional temperature control units.

Third Place: Soft Landing Platform (S.L.P.), Cooperation between Israel and Nigeria The third place went to S.L.P, a mixed group of students from Israel and Nigeria (grades 10-12). Their Soft Landing Platform is a groundbreaking innovation meticulously designed to enhance the safety and precision of spacecraft landings on celestial bodies. At its core, S.L.P. utilizes a magnetic deceleration system that finely controls spacecraft descent, complemented by kinetic energy-absorbing springs to ensure smooth and gentle touchdowns, thus protecting both equipment and crew. The platform also integrates advanced electromagnets and a precision robotic arm to guide spacecraft to optimal landing positions and expand operational capabilities on unfamiliar terrains.

The LUNA final competition marked the culmination of an eight-month intensive learning process of the Science Accelerator program, beginning in October 2023 and ending in June 2024. Throughout the program, students developed entrepreneurial, innovative, and scientifically based projects, utilizing both scientific and business tools. The program facilitated collaboration among students from different schools worldwide, fostering social solidarity and building lifelong friendships.

The competition included an 8-minute pitch in English to a panel of distinguished judges, answering questions, submitting detailed project proposals (one pager), preparing marketing videos, and creating physical MVP models.

The judges included:

  • Dr. Jacob Cohen, Chief Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Doc. Eng. Ladislav Pina, Professor at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, and Managing Director of Rigaku Innovative Technologies Europe, Ltd.
  • Marie Němečková, Director of Space hub at CzechInvest and an active member of the Czech Space Team.
  • Jakub Lajmon, Serial Entrepreneur with a focus on technology and aerospace. Co-Founder & CEO | Groundcom
  • Michael Havas, Executive producer, director and Screen writer.


Vered Cohen Barzilay, Founder of Out of the Box Aerospace – operating the Science Accelerator program and LUNA International competition: "As an international program, we encounter significant events each year that impact our students. After two years of teaching under the conditions of COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide, we also faced massive wildfires in California, USA, a massive earthquake in Turkey and a war that broke out in Israel in October 2023 and continue to this day. Israeli students studied in shelters under the threat of missiles, some of them evacuates from their homes and there was significant concern about whether they would be able to leave Israel to participate in the finals. Students from Nigeria struggled with both a lack of resources and basic electricity. Their ability to study equally is limited. Our goal is to create a reality where everyone is exposed to and receives an equal opportunity to integrate into the space-tech industry.

We are proud that for seven years we have successfully educated students from the USA, Italy, Nigeria, Israel, Turkey, India, the UAE and more. Our partners and contributors throughout the journey included NASA Ames Research Center with close guidance from Chief Scientist Dr. Jacob Cohen and the U.S. Embassy in Israel, which also supported part of the project this year. Alongside universities, schools, space museums, and a very impressive list of lecturers coming from all the fields of space, science and business.

We call on schools worldwide to connect with us either for training in space entrepreneurship development or to participate in the international competition on an independent track. Additionally, this year we are launching the GAA – Global Aerospace Academy in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) allowing young people worldwide aged 16-25 to receive comprehensive academic training that will lead them to lead tomorrow's companies in the aerospace industry."

Registration for 2025 cohort is now open.

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