Young Luxembourg-Brazilian Leads Team To NASA Challenge Victory

Bruno Freitas, bottom middle, and his Greetings from Earth team won the NASA Space Apps Challenge (Photo © UNICAMP)

Bruno Freitas, a 20-year-old Computer Engineering undergraduate from Brazil with Luxembourgish descent, led his team to victory in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, showcasing his passion for technology and entrepreneurship. Bruno hopes to finish his degree and to continue his journey, back to his roots in Luxembourg, where he can further create and build on innovation.

Growing up in southern Brazil, Bruno’s fascination with science and engineering sparked at an early age. “What led me to study computer engineering was my thirst to create,” said Bruno Freitas. Intrigued by the creative possibilities within computer engineering and technology, he embarked on his undergraduate journey at UNICAMP, a public research university in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It was during his first year at UNICAMP when Bruno first encountered the NASA Space Apps Challenge. ”At that time I was still a freshman and knew nothing about programming and the technical skills needed to create an app or website,” said Bruno. Although initially daunted by his lack of programming skills, he was determined to one day compete and succeed.

 Fast forward to 2023, Bruno assembled a team of five talented colleagues from UNICAMP and entered the competition once again, this time armed with determination and a clear vision.

Greetings from Earth

Their project, named “Greetings from Earth,” tackled the Ocean Gardens challenge, aiming to educate users about the vital role of Earth’s oceans in oxygen generation and carbon sequestration. “The idea here is that you are not from the perspective of a human, but from that of an Alien,” said Bruno. Through an interactive website, users are immersed in an alien’s perspective, receiving a transmission from Earth that highlights the beauty and importance of our planet’s oceans.

The project utilized NASA satellite data, 3D models, animations, and an engaging mini-game to create an immersive learning experience. “Through our creation, we see that the planet’s lungs are the trees, the Amazon rainforest, but this is not totally true. The main agent is actually the phytoplankton, the algae living in the ocean,” said Bruno. From exploring Earth’s ecosystem to understanding phytoplankton’s role in oxygen production, the website demonstrates to users valuable knowledge about environmental conservation.

“The point was to convey information in a fun and interactive way, which helped differentiate us from other platforms,” said Bruno. Out of over 57,000 participants from 152 countries, Bruno and his team achieved the Galactic Impact award, recognizing their project’s potential to improve life on Earth.

A future in Luxembourg

This remarkable achievement is a testament to ingenuity, dedication, and collaborative spirit. “I am currently an intern at an AI startup, and my goal is to one day have my own startup to create new solutions,” said Bruno.

Looking ahead, Bruno and his team are set to attend the winners’ celebration at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. 

“I’m currently finishing my undergraduate, I plan on enrolling in an MBA in Luxembourg, I am considering the entrepreneurship course at the University of Luxembourg, in the future,” said Bruno. Beyond this achievement, Bruno plans to continue building on his software engineering skills and pursue further studies, potentially in Luxembourg, where he aims to explore new avenues of technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

“My goal is to create new things, as I am fascinated by the creative potential”

Bruno Freitas  NASA International Space Apps Challenge Winner

Bruno’s story serves as an inspiration to young students and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. His journey underscores the importance of perseverance, creativity, and collaboration in tackling real-world challenges.

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