2020 Edition

The Challenge

The global competition to advance monitoring of plastic litter on a planetary scale, making use of AI and Satellite Data.

Fifty years after landing on the moon, we’re calling a new challenge — this time back home. Our oceans are drowning in waste.

Marine Litter Pollution is an urgent problem we are far from solving and only starting to understand. More than 4.8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year and most of it is unaccounted for.

At the same time, massive amounts of satellite data are being generated worldwide providing opportunities to improve health, economy and environment when leveraged with powerful tools such as Artificial Intelligence.

Make a difference

Trash in the oceans is a global problem.

Challenge what’s possible

Problems from the past need solutions from the future.

Win €500k

to perform research from Portugal for up to 2 years.

International Teams

World Map with the location of the AI Moonshot TeamsChart with the breakdown by type of participants: Research, Company or Other

The Jury Panel

Nikolai Maximenko

Nikolai Maximenko, University of Hawaii
Senior Researcher at the International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii. Expert in observations, remote sensing, and modelling of the ocean circulation and its role in the climate and ecosystem.

Shungu Garaba

Shungu Garaba, University of Oldenburg
Researcher at Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment - University of Oldenburg in Germany. Expert in hyperspectral remote sensing with a focus on water quality and aquatic plastic litter monitoring as well as algorithm development. The detection and identification algorithms are based on classic empirical approaches and modern machine learning methodologies utilizing information from the ultraviolet to longwave infrared spectrum.

Laura Lorenzoni

Laura Lorenzoni, NASA
Program Scientist for the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program (OBB) in the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate; Background in Marine Sciences and specific interests in land-ocean interactions, and the influence of rivers on transport and distribution of dissolved and particulate organic matter in the coastal ocean. Has been an advocate of time-series (in situ ship-based and autonomous, as well as satellite remote sensing) as tools to understand natural and anthropogenic changes in the ocean.

Pierre-Philippe Mathieu

Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, ESA
Earth Observation Applications Engineer with more than 20 years of experience working in the field of environmental modelling, weather risk management and remote sensing; Currently he is heading the Φ-lab Explore Office at the European Space Agency in ESRIN (Frascati, Italy), which aims to connect people, ideas and digital technologies to help shape the future of Earth Observation.

Vasco Pedro

Vasco Pedro, Unbabel
Co-founder and CEO of Unbabel, an AI-powered human translation platform for multilingual customer service that combines Neural Machine Translation with machine learning and a crowdsourced model; Expert in Computer sciences with experience in the development and coordination of research projects at the intersection of Big Data and Social Network Semantic Analysis.

Paolo Corradi

Paolo Corradi, ESA
System Engineer and Technical Officer at ESTEC - European Space Agency, Netherlands. Background in optical system engineering for the development of satellite optical instruments and technologies. Currently coordinating the ESA Discovery Campaign on Remote Sensing of Plastic Marine Litter.

Carolina Sá

Carolina Sá, Portugal Space
Earth Observation Projects Officer at the Portuguese Space Agency; Background in Marine Sciences and expertise in ocean color satellite remote sensing with a focus on water quality algorithms assessment in coastal areas and phytoplankton dynamics. Represents the promotor of the AI Moonshot Challenge in the panel.

The Pitch Finalists

The Winner Announcement

PI Contact: Leonardo Azevedo, PhD
Assistant Professor

Other Pitches