As children around the world begin the new school year, NASA scientists are seeking their help in designing an orbital space colony.

NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, is holding its annual Space Settlement Contest and inviting students from around the world to develop and submit their designs for permanent space communities. 

“The annual Space Settlement Contest inspires our next generation of explorers to use the science, technology and mathematical skills acquired through formal learning to become engaged in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery,” said contest organizer Barbara Navarro of NASA Ames.

Sponsored by the NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research through the NASA Ames Life Sciences Division, the contest is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Contestants are invited to submit their models, artwork and stories by mail to Bryan Yager at Mail Stop 236-7, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2004.

“What’s unique about this contest is that it is not only for science-oriented students, but also for writers, young artists and social commentators,” said Navarro. “In this contest, we are trying to tap the creative minds of our youth.”

All 2004 Space Settlement Contest participants will receive a certificate of recognition. The grand prize, and first, second and third-place award winners, will be invited to visit NASA Ames in June 2004, to tour its cutting-edge research facilities and meet with NASA scientists.

For more information about NASA Ames’ annual Space Settlement Contest on the Internet, visit: