SSDC at NASA
We had two students that participated in the Space Settlement Design Competition and Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Four students were going to participate but unfortunately two got sick the night before we left. So, Brady, Kaylee, and I traveled with 120 other people from Iowa to Texas for the competition.
Approximately 200 students from Iowa and Texas compete in the competition. They are split into four teams of approximately fifty students. This year, each team had to design a place to live on the planet Mercury. The settlement had to continually move so it could stay in an area of Mercury where the temperature is manageable. Outside of that area, it would get too cold or too hot for the people living on the planet. The requirements for the settlement are too numerous to mention and the teams only have about 24 hours to complete it.
Once the design is complete, the teams present their settlement to a panel of engineers from the Houston area. The panel will ask them questions which requires the students to think on their feet. Some of the questions are very difficult to answer. This panel then spends a few hours going over each design and then decides on a winner.
This is an amazing opportunity for our students. It is a competition that would be very difficult to simulate in the classroom. The goal is to simulate a real life project in engineering. The students did an excellent job and had a great time working on the project.