While living at Johnson Space Center the weekend of Feb. 2-4, Houston area high school students will use their imagination and knowledge to design complete details of a human settlement on Mars in the year 2045.

About 140 students from Houston and Southeast Texas will participate in the Third Annual JSC Mars Settlement Design Competition, a program designed to introduce students to the technical, communication and teamwork skills they will need when they join industry. Organized into four ìcompanyî teams, the students gain the experience of working as members of an aerospace industry proposal team. They will work against a deadline to design, develop and present a 50-page proposal of their concept of a human community on Mars to a team of NASA and industry judges.

Teams will be mentored and coached by executives from NASA, Boeing and other aerospace companies who volunteer their time to guide the studentsí efforts. Using technologies and materials expected to be available in 2045, the teams must plan a community that would support several thousand residents. All aspects that would be necessary to actually complete the project must be considered in their proposal. These include design, construction materials, logistics including transport vehicles, power allocation, robotics systems, life support, a cost estimate and a schedule.

At the conclusion of the weekend, the teams will present their proposals to a panel of expert judges who will hold them to an exacting standard.

Once presentations are complete and while the judges make their final decision, the students will tour JSC for a behind-the-scenes look at the Mission Control Center and the next-generation X-38 spacecraft currently under development.

The Mars Settlement Design Competition is one of the key events of NASAís month-long outreach effort in support of National Engineers Week. The competition is hosted and sponsored by NASA Johnson Space Center, The Boeing Company, the Clear Creek Independent School District and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Additional information is available at the competition website http://marsbase.jsc.nasa.gov.