Contact for this release:

Adrian Hon

+44 (0)151 6257717


LIVERPOOL, England — When they first set out to create an entry for the
international website design competition, Thinkquest, the three students
from the United Kingdom and Canada had no idea how far their entry would go.

Adrian Hon from England, and David Sewell and Katherine Harris from Canada
spent the last year constructing one of the most comprehensive educational
websites on the Internet – and all of this was done while they were still at
school. The website, Astrobiology: The Living Universe, covers every aspect
of the young science of astrobiology that includes exobiology, humans in
space, planetary biology and the origins of life.

With over 100 pages of extensively researched and interactive multimedia
content coming to over 100,000 words in total, Astrobiology: The Living
Universe can hardly be described as your normal student website. Spurred on
by the prospect of a trip to Cairo and a university scholarship for winners,
Adrian, David and Katherine decided that their website would be the best the
Internet could offer.

Aware that educators and others would appreciate having a hard copy of the
information on the site, the three students redesigned every single page
into a commercial-quality Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Astrobiology: The Living
Universe is not just a website, it also amounts to a free, 400 page richly
illustrated textbook.

Still not content, Adrian Hon and Katherine Harris set out to ensure they
had the most accurate and up-to-date information on astrobiology by
interviewing thirteen of the foremost scientists working in fields relating
to astrobiology. Among the scientists interviewed were Dr. Matt Golombek,
NASA Mars Pathfinder Project Director and Professor Dan Werthimer, head of
the SETI@Home distributed computing project and director of University of
California, Berkeley’s SERENDIP radio-telescope project.

The three students first met as a result of Adrian and Katherine’s common
interest in the Mars Society. After having reached the semi-finals in last
year’s Thinkquest competition, Katherine saw an ideal opportunity to put
together a team that would have the technical expertise and passion for
knowledge that could bring the new science of astrobiology to students
across the world.

Astrobiology: The Living Universe represents a momunental effort of the
parts of these students who had never met before in real life and were
forced to communicate over email with a significant time difference. It also
provides a shining example of what dedicated students can achieve in
producing a truly world-class educational resource.


ThinkQuestÆ is the largest and fastest-growing Internet-based education
program in the world, allowing students and educators to work in teams to
build high-quality, educational web sites on a variety of subjects. There
are two ThinkQuest contests – ThinkQuest Internet Challenge and ThinkQuest
Junior ñ with almost $1.5 million in scholarships and cash awards each year.
In the past four years, more than 50,000 participants from 100 countries
have created nearly 3,000 content-rich Web sites that are made freely
available as learning tools via the ThinkQuest Library at The library currently receives more than 3
million hits per day from educators, students, businesses, government
agencies, and citizens from around the world. The ThinkQuest programs
encourage collaboration, leadership, and critical thinking while
simultaneously raising the technological proficiency of its participants.


The ThinkQuest Internet Challenge, now in itís fifth year, continues to grow
in popularity and success. An international program for students ages
12-19, ThinkQuest Internet Challenge encourages teamwork among students from
different countries, backgrounds, age groups and from schools with diverse
levels of access to technology resources. All participants regularly
communicate and design their Web site entries using the Internet. A team
consists of two or three students and one to three coaches.

Noteworthy facts from 1999:

– the number of completed entries grew by 50% over 1998

– international applications, from outside the United States, increased by
more than 50% to 3,500

– one-quarter of all teams are multinational, containing members from
different countries

– more than half of ThinkQuestís students are from demographic areas with an
annual income of less than $45,000


Adrian Hon – – ICQ: 2526383

Mars Society Chair of Youth Outreach –

Website: –