New Worlds Await You (NWAY) program hosts an annual design competition for middle school-aged students to work in teams on a semester-long project-based learning activity. Student teams will research and imagine a lunar habitat that will meet the design constraints and requirements for the competition.

Over the course of 4 months, teams will brainstorm creative solutions and implement the engineering design process to build a 3D physical model of their habitat and supporting technology. They will present their research and 3D model to STEM professionals in a national competition held virtually (on-line).

Are you ready to join the fun?

The design competition can only happen with the support of the entire STEM education eco-system: students, educators, parents, industry and community! Join the fun now!

Students will be challenged to design a 3D model of a habitat in a Lunar Lava Tube to allow a crew of astronauts to explore the Moon and conduct science while keeping them alive and happy on a long-term stay on the Moon. This is also a current focus for the NASA Artemis program!

A technology-focused project is also available for teams who want to create new technologies to further lunar exploration.

Teams of 4 to 6 middle school aged students (grades 6-8) from formal and informal educational organizations.

Team leaders/teachers/sponsors attend an online informational session (1.5 hours) in Mid-December. Teams prepare for the competition January through April.

Preliminary competition round will be held at the end of April. The top 10% of teams advance to the Finals to be held online in early May. All judging will be conducted virtually.

Teams work independently at their own educational institution with guidance by their leader/sponsor. All team deliverables are submitted and judged online with the final competition held in an online conference setting.

Teams have access to mentors and guest speakers who are STEM professionals. Past participation from NASA, Southwest Research Institute, University of Texas San Antonio, Texas A&M, Boeing, Blue Origin, and others.

Why Should My Students Compete?

Dive into a space exploration project-based activity centered on real science, engineering and technology!

Implement 21st century skills such as teamwork, communication, creativity and problem solving!

Interact with STEM professionals from across the nation!

Win prizes!

NWAY Design Competition Supports Teachers with:

Free curriculum to support the design competition.

Free resources including multi-media to keep students and families engaged.

Are you Ready to Compete?


Get the Competition Handbook

Interested but not sure if you or your students are? NWAY has a ton of resources including a 10-session curriculum that will build foundational STEM skills and Moon content knowledge — FREE!!! Find the Mission to the Moon curriculum and other NWAY resources here.


Whether you are ready to organize a team now, or need a little more support, NWAY can help! The NWAY program will provide you with a Competition Handbook which will guide you and your students through a framework that includes the team project management skills, brainstorming techniques, engineering design process, technology support, and guidance in building their model.

Go to the Educator’s Page

Mentors, Judges, and Volunteers

STEM professionals provide real-world expertise, passion and guidance to student teams.

As a mentor and/or judge, you volunteer to work directly with student teams and their educator. Sharing your passion and real STEM experiences are critical to your role. You will offer guidance through the application of STEM content and the engineering design process, as well as project management duties.

Communication will be held virtually so you can volunteer to be a STEM mentor no matter where you are located! Make sure to download the Be A Mentor flier and register, today!

Go to the mentors and judges page


Get ready for a fun and exciting project! We’ve got cool videos and downloads to learn more about the Moon, lunar caves, and exploration technologies and a photo gallery of student projects for you to check out!

Go to the students page


You are the foundation! Support your children as they learn to work as a team, build on creative ideas and apply knowledge in this exciting project.

NWAY Partners

The New Worlds Await You program builds upon partnerships from NASA, Communities in Schools – San Antonio, Vivify, Future Cities and DiscoverE to present Space-based Design Challenges! See the fun and learning from last years Lunar City design Challenge here!

By helping to fund our programs for motivated Middle and High School students with an interest in exploring space, you advance 21st century careers for underrepresented minorities, female, and economically disadvantaged students.

Support a space
exploration pioneer