From 4 to 10 October 2002, the Education Office of the European
Space Agency (ESA) will celebrate World Space Week by giving young
Europeans the chance to tell the world their ideas on what daily
life on Mars might be like 45 years from now.

In 1999, the United Nations declared the week of 4 through 10
October "World Space Week": 4 October being the celebration of the
launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and 10 October the anniversary of the
first treaty on space in 1967. A theme is defined every year, on
which projects at local, regional, national or international level
are developed. This year’s theme will be "Space and daily life."
The Spaceweek International Association is responsible for the
co-ordination of the events.

The Education Office’s aim with this project is to inspire young
Europeans to imagine their future, while applying their knowledge
from school. We will ask them to think about what life in space
will be like in 45 years’ time (as 2002 is the 45th anniversary
of the launch of Sputnik), giving special thought to a permanent
establishment on Mars.

The project Space and daily life … in 45 years — the case of
the Martian Base is being developed in cooperation with Parsec,
a French educational organisation. Teachers will be free to
choose the emphasis they want to place on the project, according
to the age of the children or the discipline they teach.

Disciplines that could be involved:

  • Life sciences:

    What is it about Earth that makes it habitable for human beings?
    What are the existing features of Mars that would help it support
    human life? What would have to be made on Mars so that human
    beings could live there (e.g. air, heat, water, food, etc.)?

  • Physics/chemistry:

    Identify the existing technologies on Earth that would be needed
    on Mars (e.g. electricity, manufacturing of water and atmosphere,
    vehicles on the surface of Mars or between Mars and Earth,

  • Maths:

    Calculate the surface areas (for habitation, agriculture, etc.),
    volumes (of air, water, etc.), masses (of food, propellants, etc.)
    and distances (for travel, light-speed communications, etc.)
    associated with human habitation and living

  • Arts/architecture:

    Design a base that will provide for all basic human needs

  • Geology/geography (e.g. choice of terrain), psychology or sociology
    (number of people, choice of profession, what has to be provided
    for a good quality of life, etc.)

This project is adaptable to various age groups, from primary (with
simple analysis) to secondary level, with deeper analysis of the
necessary technologies. In the best case, all disciplines should be
combined. Classes, groups and individuals can compete. All choices
made in the course of the project must be explained and justified,
thus also employing language and composition skills (mother tongue
or foreign languages).

The children will have to discuss what is needed, whether it exists
on Mars, or how it can be provided. Each teacher will have some
guidelines for the systems to be planned. This activity is intended
to take place during World Space Week itself; therefore, the final
deadline for sending proposal entries to ESA is 31 October 2002.

Mars quick facts

  • Orbit: 227,940,000 km (1.52 AU) mean distance
  • Diameter: 6,794 km
  • Martian day: 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds
  • Martian year: 669 Martian days, 687 Earth days
  • Average temperature: 218 K (-55 C)
  • Minimum temperature: 140 K (-133 C) (at the winter pole)
  • Maximum temperature: 300 K (27 C) (summer dayside)
  • Surface area: about the same as the land surface area of the Earth

National winners from each member state will be selected based on
the thoroughness or innovation of the proposed solutions. From
these, European winners will be chosen. These winning projects
will be presented on the ESA website. The European winners will
then be able to compete at an international level with all of the
projects participating in World Space Week.

More information about the Mars 2047 competition is available,
as well as a description of a selection of World Space Week
educational projects. You may download these documents in PDF
format from this page: see "More about Mars 2047" and "Teacher’s
guide" (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents).
To receive a printed copy by post, you may send email to with your postal address and preferred language.
This information is available in English, French, Dutch, German,
Italian and Spanish. You may also email with your questions
concerning this project.

Related links

* World Space Week

* ISS Space Week event

* Essay contest with Unesco

* Education & Outreach

* Parsec

Further material

* More about Mars 2047 (PDF, 29K)

* Teacher’s guide (PDF, 200K)

* In your language…

Helpful sites

* ESA Science homepage

* Nirgal (franáais)

* Mars Society

* The nine planets

* In your language…


[Image 1:]
The ESA World Space Week 2002 poster is available by post from
ESA’s Education Office. Please send email to
for ordering information.

[Image 2:]
Artist’s impression of satellites communicating with Mars bases.

[Image 3:]
Artist’s impression of a Mars base.