ANGLeS Challenge (2018–2019)

About the ANGLeS Challenge

The Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge is a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by giving students the chance to recreate the landing using drones and robots, focusing on making it accessible for underrepresented and underserved communities.

Regional challenge hubs

A total of 15 hubs create a network of regional challenges across the continental United States. Each Regional Challenge Hub will hold its final event July 15–20, 2019 — the 50th anniversary week of the Apollo 11 mission.

Challenge timeline & event calendar

This page provides a quick timeline of important deadlines and milestones for the ANGLeS Challenge, as well as a full calendar of the regional hub final challenge events in July.


The ANGLeS Challenge has a multi-step registration process. Please review the instructions carefully! The registration deadline has been extended to April 15, 2019.


The grand prize to the top team from most Regional Challenge Hubs is a trip to a NASA center in August 2019! All teams who register and participate in the ANGLeS Challenge will receive a NASA certificate of participation.


Safety is of critical importance when running the ANGLeS Challenge. Please review this page and the additional safety material in the Official Manual.


Supplies for the ANGLeS Challenge may be available for a discount. Contact NESSP to inquire.


The ANGLeS Challenge is growing and reaching more students across the country thanks to the support from our sponsors.

National student challenges

NESSP’s student challenges program brings our STEM education expertise to educators and students across the United States. Challenges center around a specific scientific topic or NASA mission and create opportunities for educators to participate in NESSP-provided professional development and for students to work together in teams to tackle STEM topics. Challenges culminate in events at regional hubs around the U.S., with top teams earning visits to NASA centers such as Johnson Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Kennedy Space Center, Ames Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Lab.

Current challenge

ROADS on Mars

ROADS on Mars is a team challenge for grades 3–12. The challenge follows in the path of the Mars 2020 rover and focuses on guiding students in understanding Rover Observation And Drone Survey.

What’s happening next with the ROADS Challenge?

[MEC id=”2507″]

Past challenges

ROADS on Mars — Freestyle! (2020)

When NESSP's 2019–2020 ROADS on Mars Student Challenge was grounded during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still offered ways for students to keep their Mars skills sharp. We called it "ROADS on Mars Freestyle."

ANGLeS Challenge (2018–2019)

The Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge was a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by giving students the chance to recreate the landing using drones and robots, focusing on making it accessible for underrepresented and underserved communities.

Ground control to UW campus — Seeking campus-savvy volunteers for lunar mission

Have you, too, heard the call of space and wondered how you can respond? NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP), headed by Washington NASA Space Grant and based out of Johnson Hall, invites you to join us on our next mission — to the moon.

Black and white image showing 5 pairs of feet standing on a map of the lunar surface.

On Friday, July 19, 2019, teams of middle- and high-school students from around Washington state will convene on the UW campus in Seattle for NESSP’s Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge. The ANGLeS Challenge is a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by giving students the chance to recreate the moon landing using drones and robots, focusing on making it accessible for underrepresented and underserved communities. The July 19 event at the UW is the final event for teams in Washington state, who have worked throughout the spring on honing their skills in flying drones to deliver their lunar module to the moon, programming their robot to traverse the lunar landscape, and working together as a team to overcome mission challenges. The team who achieves the highest score at the UW event will win a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where they’ll join other top teams from across the country and participate in a showcase of the Challenge.

How can you help? NESSP is looking for volunteers from the UW community to assist us as mission support staff. Enthusiasm for space is helpful, as is an enjoyment of working with young STEM explorers — but really, the most important qualification you can bring is simply your knowledge of the UW campus. Teams will be arriving from all across Washington state, and with ANGLeS Challenge events happening at several campus locations all day long we could use your help in keeping everything running smoothly and teams pointed in the right direction as they move between buildings.

We have volunteer shifts in two hours and four hours. If you’d like to sign up, please complete this Google Form (sign-in is required). If you have questions, please contact our volunteer coordinator: Mary Denmon — All volunteers will receive a small “thank you” gift commemorating the event.

Deadline to sign up

Sign-up will close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.

It takes a team to send a mission to the moon. We hope you’ll join our team as we support these students in taking their next giant leap.

ANGLeS Challenge event details

Friday, July 19

  • 8:30 a.m. — Opening ceremony
  • 9:15 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Teams run challenge
  • 6 p.m. — Closing ceremony


Lunar surface map

If you’ll be running the ANGLeS Challenge for a local organization — or you just want the right landing site for team practice — you can send this PDF of the lunar landing site to a local print shop.

Download lunar surface map as .PDF

Professional development: Lego Mindstorms & drone training PowerPoint

This PowerPoint is a slideshow meant to support hands-on training for both Lego Mindstorms robots and Force1 drones.

37-slide version — Download as a .PPTX
Updated March 25, 2019

66-slide version — Download as a .PPTX
This longer version includes additional multimedia as well as information on how the Challenge relates to Next Generation Science Standards and a primer on lunar geology and crater formation.
Uploaded March 28, 2019

Flight Director information + curriculum

Each team requires one adult as the Flight Director. The Flight Director will act as the primary contact and coach for the team. The Flight Director information document provides information on piloting a drone, information on engineering and programming a Lego Mindstorms robot, and other relevant concepts such as wireless communication and remote sensing. The Flight Director information packet also covers curriculum related to the challenge.

Download Flight Director information as a .PDF

Official ANGLeS Challenge manual

The ANGLeS Challenge manual gives a complete overview of the challenge, from details on all stages of the challenge activities to what science and programming standards for middle and high school students are supported.

Download the manual as a .PDF
Version 1.4 — Updated May 20, 2019


Basic LEGO Mindstorms EV3 programming course with videos and exercises. It is quite clear and starts really basic. Recommended by FIRST. The drawback for this one is that it is quite exhaustive with lots of examples so it is not short.

EV3 Lessons

This site includes a repository of slides and instructions for various LEGO Mindstorms EV3 topics. While not necessarily useful for beginners, it is good for debugging or niche topics.

Education Hacker

These videos are clear, basic, and short but cover most key LEGO Mindstorms navigation videos. The tutorials teach by guiding viewers through programming for a specific scenario.

WAFFLES Robotics

This series of videos has four playlists that explore LEGO Mindstorms techniques of increasing complexity. A grasp on the beginning and intermediate topics is a great foundation for success and the advanced videos add interesting information about some of the more obscure features of EV3 Programming.

CS-STEM Network

This fun series of lessons from Carnegie Mellon for LEGO Mindstorms leads students from basic movement to navigating using advanced control flow features. It relies on clear videos, review questions, and periodic challenges to cover core concepts. Instructors can register for a free account to track student progress.

It’s time to post your team’s mission patch!

There are two important deadlines coming in the next week for the ANGLeS Challenge.

April 15 — Deadline for organizations to register. All teams must be associated with an organization, so it’s crucial that the organization registers by the end of the day on Monday, April 15. There’s no penalty for registering and then not participating in the Challenge! We encourage all organizations who think they may be interested to register now and make your decision later so that you don’t miss the registration window.

April 19 — Every NASA mission has a mission patch that illustrates the goal and spirit of the project, where the project originates from, and which institutions are participating. Each team is encouraged to create and submit a Mission Patch. We encourage teams to get creative and design a mission patch that represents themselves, their community, and their mission in the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge.

Please post your Mission Patches to the social media with the hashtags #ApolloNextGiantLeap and #Apollo50, then submit the link to us using the form linked below. Note, you will need your team number (e.g. WA999A) to submit the form, so please have that ready. You can find that number in your registration confirmation email.

For inspiration, here are some examples of NASA mission patches from over the years. NASA’s description of the Apollo 11 patch states:

The American eagle, symbolic of the United States, was about to land on the Moon. In its talons, an olive branch indicated the crew “came in peace for all mankind.” The Earth, the place from which the crew came and would return safely in order to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to the nation, rested on a field of black, representing the vast unknown of space