NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

More than 100 high school students will participate in Mars settlement design competition

Although human habitation on the Red Planet is still far from reality, more than 100 high school students from across New Mexico will test their skills during the 2003 NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) Mars Settlement Design Competition at New Mexico State University.

petition will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, and end at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16. Guest speaker Brian Derkowski, from the Advanced Development Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, will discuss "Mars Exploration" at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in Room 106 in Hardman Hall.

Students in grades 10-12 will use their artistic, computer, writing, oral, science and math skills to devise a Mars settlement.

"The idea behind the competition is to introduce high school students to the world of engineering through competition," said Kenneth White, academic department head and professor in the civil and geological engineering department at NMSU. "We are always looking for opportunities to give high school students an insight to what engineering is all about."

The competition, an industry simulation game set in the 21st century, emulates the experience of working as a member of an aerospace company developing a design and operations proposal for a Mars base.

"We believe this is an unique opportunity to stretch students' talents and abilities, learn new ones and stimulate their interest in pursuing technical careers. These young people are our future," said Pleddie Baker of the Technology and Education Outreach Office at WSTF, one of the coordinators of the competition.

Students will stay in dorm rooms on campus and learn about Mars, space science, the space environment, engineering careers, organization, integration of complex activities, teamwork, management and effective communication.

Each team will be provided with a professional NASA or industry manager to serve as a chief executive officer. They will receive training, guidance and information from industry experts. The competition concludes with team proposal presentations to a panel of NASA, industry and academic judges who will select the winning proposal.

For more information, contact White at (505) 646-3801 or Baker at (505) 524-5778. For more information on the competition and a complete schedule of events go to: http://www.wstf.nasa.gov/Associ/Mars/About.htm