The National Space Society (NSS) invites students worldwide up to 12th grade (18 years old) to participate in the 2021 edition of the annual Space Settlement Contest.
Submissions must relate to free space settlements. Settlements may not be on a planet or moon, although support activities such as mining may be. Settlements must be permanent homes, not temporary work camps. Submissions may focus on one or a few aspects of space settlement and supporting systems, including mines, activities leading up to settlement (such as space hotels), economic and social issues, etc.
The National Space Society (NSS) invites all 2021 contest participants to attend the NSS 2021 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Sheraton Gateway, Los Angeles, 27–30 May 2021.
The subject is explained in more details on the official website.
Space settlements 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 settlements 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.
Students can design entire colonies or focus on one aspect of orbital living.
The highest ranking attending entry will receive the Herman Rubin Award of $5,000 and give a plenary talk at one of the conference’s signature events.
All participants will receive a NASA certificate. The best submission will be placed on the contest’s official website.
The 2021 contest is conducted electronically.