Kuwait (American University of Kuwait) AUK’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Hosted Third Nasa Space Apps Challenge

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at AUK participated in its third NASA Space Apps Challenge—the world’s largest hackathon introduced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Organized by the dean of CEAS, Dr. Amir Zeid and CEAS faculty members, Dr. Marwa Sharawi and Dr. Ayman El-Naggar, Kuwait was among many participating cities worldwide. The 48-hour hackathon was attended by over 40 contestants, including high school students, AUK students, alumni, and professors.

The participants were divided into eight teams—composed of scientists, coders, space enthusiasts, graphic designers, and business analysts—who worked for 48 hours to create apps, games, and websites that addressed the challenges provided by NASA Space Apps.

The 2-day event concluded with a closing ceremony on campus where Dr. Zeid congratulated all participants on their hard work and dedication to produce a marketable software solution within a short period of time. “We are living in a hyper-digital world. The NASA Space Apps Hackathon serves as a golden opportunity to cultivate the skills required in developing digital solutions that can be applied in the real world. I am incredibly proud to see so many young people ready to showcase their talents and innovative ideas; exuding a level of energy and enthusiasm that is truly inspirational to witness,” said Dr. Zeid.

Three judges convened to select the first and second place winners. The judges, Mrs. Mayce ElMostafa, director of the Campus Services Department at AUK; Mr. Yacoub AlBash, team leader of information technology services at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC); and Dr. Bassem AlFeeli, founder and general manager of Orbital Space, represented a variety of expertise and provided valuable feedback to the teams after presenting their projects.

The first-place project, “The Parkers,” was led by Mustafa Ali Karkour. It consisted of a website that showcased the storyline of the Parker solar probe that flew through the sun’s upper atmosphere and sampled particles and magnetic fields there. The Parker solar probe is added to the website in 3D and labelled to enable the user to move it around.

Reflecting on his experience and achievement of winning first place, Karkour said, “In 48 hours, AUK has held an amazing event to inspire space enthusiasts like us. My team and I competed in the NASA Space Apps Challenge and won 1st place at AUK! During the event, we touched on different challenges to explore the beauty of space before settling on the “On the Way to the Sun” challenge. The challenge made us realize the difficulties NASA’s astronauts/spacecraft face and how curiosity-driven they are. I had a great team with a diverse set of skills and with their contributions, we made it happen!”

The second-place project “Planetarium,” led by Nora Almarri, is a game that delivers information about climate change. The game has a planetarium, small quizzes, and a library full of resources that provides viewers with climate change facts.

AUK is dedicated to hosting events and activities such as NASA Space Apps that encourage the growth and knowledge of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers, storytellers, and engineers.