[Updated] Registration for 2023 Mission to Mars Student Competition Extended

The Mars Society is launching its second annual International Mission to Mars Engineering Design Competition this summer for high school students from around the world. Students are encouraged to register online for this unique exploratory design challenge.

Update: Please note that the deadline for registering for the 2023 Mission to Mars educational program has been extended until Friday, July 7th (5:00 pm MT), at which time student teams will be formed.

Update: Both this year and last year’s Lectures are now available to watch On-Demand on YouTube.

Modeled on the approach taken in engineering design courses at some of the best global universities, the virtual program will involve morning and afternoon sessions (Monday-Friday) from June 26th through July 31st, involving lectures with leading scientists and engineers from NASA, the aerospace industry, and the academic community.

The course speakers from 2022 included Dr. Carol Stoker (NASA scientist), Dr. Chris McKay (NASA astrobiologist), Dr. Lawrence Kuznetz (former Apollo mission controller), Dr. Greg Autry (ASU space policy expert), Ashwini Ramesh (aerospace engineer), Dr. David Poston (Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist), and Caleb Eastman (robotics technology expert).  Some of these lecturers will be returning, with many more scheduled to present material to the students.

Last year’s Mission to Mars program was very successful, involving 40 international students divided into teams, learning advanced concepts about science, technology, engineering, and mission design in order to develop their own Mars surface mission. More than 80 students are expected to join the design competition this summer. 

“What we are doing is providing a growing group of international students with a first-class summer educational experience, as well as helping to show NASA and the global space community what a science-driven human Mars mission plan might look like,” said Dr. Robert Zubrin, Mars Society President.

The 5-week course will be held online allowing participation from students anywhere in the world to take part. The summer program will consist of three elements:  

1.      Lectures by leading experts in areas of science and engineering relevant to the means and goals of human Mars exploration, and assignment of supporting readings. This will prepare the students for the next parts.

2.      The organization of students into design teams, comparable to those in a university engineering design class, charged with designing a human mission to Mars. The ground rules are that it is assumed that they have a mission enabled by the delivery of 30 metric tons of useful payload to the Martian surface, plus an ascent vehicle capable of returning up to five astronauts from the Martian surface to Earth. The students will need to design the surface mission, including its habitat, surface vehicles, scientific instruments, power system and other equipment and supplies, crew size and composition, mission location, scientific objectives, rations, duration, and exploration plan. The designs of each team will be written up in a report, which each team member responsible for authoring a section.

3.      The teams will then compete their designs in a contest, involving live presentations in front of a panel of expert judges, with winners chosen based on technical and scientific merit. Tuition fee to the course will be only $99, making it possible for students of all economic levels to participate. Students who contribute a section to a design report will receive a certificate attesting to their participation, useful for augmenting their college entry applications.

Online registration for students anywhere in the world for the 2023 International Mission to Mars Engineering Design Competition is now open. 

Update: Both this year and last year’s Lectures are now available to watch On-Demand on YouTube.

Any questions about applying for the virtual summer session should be referred to Nicole Willett at education@marssociety.org

A group of eminent instructors have already been lined up to give sectional talks, but more are always welcomed. In addition, a few additional coaches for the design teams and judges for the competition are needed. If you are someone who would like to help out in one of these roles, please let us know by applying to be a faculty member for the 2023 program.