NASA Space Settlement Design Competition

NASA Space Settlement Design Competition

The NASA Space Settlement Design Competition is an annual contest, sponsored by the NASA Ames Research CenterSan Jose State University, and the National Space Society (NSS). It is open to students up to 12th grade (18 years old) from anywhere in the world. The challenge to students is to design an orbiting space colony.  Mr. Anderson (Forsyth Gifted Teacher K-8), shares this is a very open-ended project and one of the most interesting aspects of teaching this unit is to see which way the class takes their paper. This year's group wanted to divert from the previous class’s comprehensive plan to build the settlement. Instead, they focused their paper on the economics of how the colony could produce income to pay for itself. This was a brave move considering the students the previous year had been the international champions in their age division. In the end, the class felt it was worth the risk to go after the overall grand prize awarded to the best paper in all the categories combined.

This year, NASA received approximately 2,500 submissions from an estimated 10,000 students worldwide. This year only 7 entries from the United States placed. Two of these came from Forsyth. Our 7th and 8th graders placed 2nd in their age division and a group of high school students placed 3rd in the 12th grade division (most of the students writing were freshman, but an entry is placed in the grade of the oldest contestant and they had 1 senior in their group). All entrants are invited to attend the International Space Development Conference. The conference moves from year to year to various locations and this year's conference will be in Los Angeles. Last year’s winning team was selected to be presenters at the conference. They gave an overview of their paper and highlighted some of the techniques they used to collaborate on their paper. While attending the conference, students were able to rub shoulders with engineers, scientists, and astronauts currently working on some of the things they wrote about in their paper. Some highlights from their experience were hearing a presentation by the head of the European Space Agency Johann-Dietrich Wörner, listening to stories from the engineers that worked on the Apollo missions, and interacting with scientists in the exhibit hall.

The students participating this year included high school students: Kylie Calhoun, Mykah Charlton, Ethan Gwin, Kellen Hendrix, Kobe Hendrix, Kera Mingus, Gianna Reding, Greyson Tomlinson, and Priscilla Tomlinson. From the middle school the participants were: Kyle Bohon, Mekenna Carter, Katelyn Collins, Tobias Collins, Emmalea Cook, Taryn Floer, Lily Hesketh, Kollin Kolb, Carley Rauls, Gemma Reding, Elissa Russell, Glendon Streetman, Landry Stuart, Cooper Voliva, and Xander Wetter.

Pictured above not in any order: Kyle Bohon, Mekenna Carter, Katelyn Collins, Tobias Collins, Emmalea Cook, Taryn Floer, Lily Hesketh, Kollin Kolb, Carley Rauls, Gemma Reding, Elissa Russell, Glendon Streetman, Landry Stuart, Cooper Voliva, and Xander Wetter.