Space Settlement graphic, torus Space Settlement logo man reaching for the stars NASA Space Settlement Contest


This annual contest, co-sponsored by NASA Ames and the National Space Society (NSS) is for all students up to 12th grade (18 years old) from anywhere in the world. Individuals, small teams of two to five, and large teams of six or more are judged separately. Entries are also grouped by age/grade of the oldest contestant for judging. The age groups are 7th and under, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. The grand prize is awarded to the best entry regardless of contestant age. Students develop space settlement designs and related materials. These are sent to NASA Ames for judgement. Submissions must be received by March 1. Check out the results of the 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 contests.

We are soliciting testimonials of experiences with this contest. If you have something to say about your experience with this contest, send an email to nss-contest-testimonial@nss.org. Do not use this email for general inquiries, testimonials only! Selected testimonials will be posted on the NSS web site and/or used in a scientific paper on the contest. Accepted testimonials may be edited for English and clarity.

Contest deadline, prizes and certificates:

Here are some of the grand prize entries from previous years:

Rules

Plagiarism

You may use other people's ideas in your entry, but not other people's writing. In recent years plagiarism, copying other people's writing rather than doing your own, has become a serious problem. Every year dozens of entries are caught copying materials from the web. They are eliminated from the competition.. To avoid plagiarism, we recommend that you never use copy/paste for any text in your entry. Always write it yourself. Note that copying material and changing a few words here and there is also plagiarism. Write your own material!

Plagiarism is particularly sad for teams when one team member plagiarizes and the others are ethical. For teams, we recommend checking each other for plagiarism. Use Google (or other search engine) to surround 6-8 suspect words with double quotes, for example "text I think might be plagiarised by someone." If there is a perfect match, then look at the source material to make sure there wasn't an accidental match. Most of the time it will be plagiarism and must be removed from your entry before the judges find it. There are also some automated plagiarism detectors available on the web. Consider using them.

Resources and Tips

Submission

Send a hard copy of your entry and two hard copies of a filled out entry form (one firmly attached to your entry and the other loosely attached, perhaps with a paper clip) to:

NASA Ames Research Center
Al Globus/Mail Stop 262-4
Bldg. 262, Rm. 277
Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001
USA

Entries must arrive by March 1, 2015.

NOTE: we do not send verification that entries have been received. Please don't ask for one. If you want to know if the entry has arrived, use a service that requires a signature.

Teachers using the contest in their class should submit all projects together. Note: electronic submission is not allowed, only hard copy.

Discussion

Space colonies are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to living on the Moon or other planets. The work of Princeton physicist Dr. O'Neill and others have shown that such colonies are technically feasible, although expensive. Settlers of this high frontier are expected to live inside large air-tight rotating structures holding hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people along with the animals, plants, and single celled organisms vital to comfort and survival. There are many advantages to living in orbit: zero-g recreation, environmental independence, plentiful solar energy, and terrific views to name a few. There is plenty of room for everyone who wants to go; the materials from a single asteroid can build space colonies with living space equal to about 500 times the surface area of the Earth.

Why should colonies be in orbit? Mars and our Moon have a surface gravity far below Earth normal. Children raised in low-g will not develop bones and muscles strong enough to visit Earth comfortably. In contrast, orbital colonies can be rotated to provide Earth normal pseudo-gravity in the main living areas.

We hope teachers will make this contest part of their lesson plan. While designing a space colony, students will have a chance to study physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science, and many other disciplines. We would like students outside the science classes to participate as well. Thus, contest submissions may include designs, essays, stories, models, and artwork. Students can design entire colonies or focus on one aspect of orbital living. A class or school may submit a joint project where small teams tackle different areas in a coordinated fashion. For example, consider a cross curriculum project where science classes design the basic structure and support systems, art students create pictures of the interior and exterior, English students write related short stories, social studies students develop government and social systems, Industrial Technology builds a scale model, and the football team proposes low-g sports.

Schools and teachers may consider ongoing multi-year projects; each year's students add detail to a space colony design that becomes part of the school or class portfolio. In this case, teachers assign students to different parts of the design, gradually building a more and more complete and practical space colony concept. Each year the project can be submitted to the contest.

Other Space Settlement Contests

Continuing Education

Colleges and Universities offering space science astronautics programs.

NASA Academy A National educational, training, and research resource for college undergraduate and graduate students, dedicated to promoting current and future opportunities for innovation and leadership in aerospace-related careers.

The space settlement home page.

Additional Space Settlement sites include: We would like to thank the NASA Ames Contractor Council and the San Jose State University Research Foundation for their generous and critical support.

Author: Al Globus



Curator: Al Globus Space Settlement hompage
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus Last Updated: July 23, 2014
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
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