National student challenges

Student Challenge icon -- A white square with a black border, showing the words "Student Challenge" above an astronaut holding a clock next to icons representing a telescope, a drone, a rover, a testing meter, a beaker and flask, and a notebook.

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 information

Upcoming events


Detailed program information

Current challenge

The next ROADS challenge will launch in autumn 2021! Stay tuned to our communications array for announcements.

Past challenges

A space craft flies across a star field toward the asteroid Vesta, surrounded by a circle with the words Rover Observation and Drone Survey (ROADS) on Asteroids. ROADS on Asteroids (2020-2021) The ROADS on Asteroids challenge gave teams of students grades 3–12 a chance to tackle a mission to the asteroids.
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."
ROADS on Mars (2019-2020) ROADS on Mars was a team challenge for grades 3–12. The challenge followed in the path of the Mars 2020 rover and focused on guiding students in understanding Rover Observation And Drone Survey.
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.