Global Finalist made it to the Global Award Finals (Top 25)

People's Choice Semi-Finalist made it to the People's Choice Semi-Finals (Top 25)

Journey to Mars

Develop a game that simulates conditions in an off-Earth located permanent or temporary colony. The game could be a sandbox that offers the possibility to simulate various facilities that would support a reduced gravity environment far from earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. Users could be given power allowances, atmospheric conditions, and in situ resource options (using resources available on site for life support or other needs). The game could include a variety of scenarios including:

  • Arranging a GPS-like system on the Moon or Mars to support navigation for the human inhabitants. The simulation could allow the users to explore different solutions such as a constellation of satellites, a network of masts or other Earth based methods at the challenger’s discretion.
  • Players could build a habitat that could withstand the Lunar or Martian environment while also taking into consideration that its inhabitants need to have adequate power and supplies, be able to produce food, have locations sleep, live and work.
  • Build a Virtual Moon telescope. The simulation could allow the user to conduct a research mission using a telescope on site near their habitat. Explore what instruments make sense for the location of the telescope (and what the user wants to observe). Game players could explore settings such as exposure times or wavelengths to observe. Observations could vary based on the position of the telescope on the Moon or Mars, and the relative position in the sky of the pointed object. After each simulated capture, show an appropriately generated image reflecting the exposure and wavelength settings.

Mission statement

Our Mission statement is autonomous farming, through machine learning on basis on collaborative gaming for off-earth as well as on-earth applications.

The main goal is to set-up a demonstrator green-house that will be used as the baseline farming hardware for our game. This demonstrator shall be used to setup the webbased platform that shall be used for the game as well as a remote-access to private user green-houses.

Spoiler: We achieved both. Please play to make an impact in space and on earth!

As an optional goal, we want to bring this experiment to the International Space Station to make direct interaction with space based experiments possible for the public. This shall not only be used for education and outreach reasons to show the importance of space research but also harnessing the collective swarm intelligence by the community. With both, science and public can intensify the collaboration for the benefit of all.

The problem

The food supply & resource management for long term space missions will be a future challenge that needs to be tackled today. Instead of agriculturing for their daily needs, it will help the astronauts to focus on their important tasks. It will make earth independent deep space mission possible. The problem is food supply & resource management for long term deep space mission.

We want to tackle this future problem.

The solution

So our solution is that autonomous farming. For solving this, we start to teach the autonomous farm by user generated inputs.

The technical approach

Let us explain the technical concept behind the idea. We built this protoype green house that contains everything you need for autonomous farming capabilities in space. We achieve this by training a machine learning algorithm and applying the collective swarm intelligence by gamers, who are taking part and controlling our green house.

Machine learning is applied to make the autonomous farm adaptable on the ever changing needs of the plants. And we believe the best solution for this difficult task is by means of machine learning.


(let's demonstrate it for you.)

The user joins the game, takes over the control and gets points for interactions. The better his/her decisions are, this means the better the plants will grow, the more points he earns.

The amount of points is evalutated by sensor data. For example if the plant needs light, the user can activate the LED and the brightness sensor is providing feedback to the player. But there are even more sensors and actuators in our greenhouse to play with, like a water pump...

The catch is that no one is playing alone, you are part of a big team and the overall team decision is carried out by our space green house.

Setting up the gameis easy. Watch it below!


Our vision is that our green house is not only used off-earth, but also on earth. It can help prevent food shortage in urban or desert areas. We built a platform that is flexible and can be adapted to be used with other plants. Furthermore we believe that space applications always helps to solve earthly challenges. So our green-house can be used everywhere on earth and everyone can use it also for their own gardening project without the need to connect it to our game. But the user keeps the possibility to monitor the plant and control it on his smartphone when riding the subway or during a short coffee break during work.

Please play to make an impact in space and on earth!


We are currently growing our first batch of cress in the gree-house prototype to have first data of the experiment and also of the functionality of the hardware.
In the meantime we are setting up the controls for the user and the gamification of the system. Please check for news. The global connectivity of the platform you can see in the above screenshot taken on an iPhone 5 in Macedonia. (see our test batch of cress after 5 days below, no joke!)

Dear NASA...

during our research for building, we found out that you already flew cress to the International Space Station:

"Plants Use Sixth Sense for Growth Aboard the Space Station" (

Would you be so kind and send us a small quanitity of those ISS cress seeds for our players to win as prizes? That would be really appreciated. Please contact us at info(at)cress(dot)space.

Thank you!


You can find more photos on and videos on

Resources Used



  • bio cress seeds + cotton wool
  • IKEA Samla boxes 22l + 11l and cover
  • Raspberry Pi 2 + Arduino Duemilanove (for ADC)
  • Webcam
  • DHT22 (temperature, humidity)
  • Hydroponic LED (16W Red/Blue)
  • Water pump (no name, aliexpress)
  • Waterlevel sensor (soil moisture noname, aliexpress)
  • selfmade PCB
  • 433 MHz transmitter + radio controlled power socket


  • docker, django
  • python
  • arduino
Made inStuttgart Germany
from the minds of
How they did it