Mars Society Launches Student Design Competition for Inspiration Mars Mission

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Inspiration Mars Vehicle
BOULDER, Colo. (Mars Society PR) –
Today during the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention, the Mars Society announced the launch of an international engineering competition for student teams to propose design concepts for the architecture of the Inspiration Mars mission.  The contest is open to university engineering student teams from anywhere in the world.

Inspiration Mars Executive Director Dennis Tito and Program Manager Taber MacCallum were present for the announcement. “Inspiration Mars is looking for the most creative ideas from engineers all over the world,” said Tito. “Furthermore, we want to engage the explorers of tomorrow with a real and exciting mission, and demonstrate what a powerful force space exploration can be in inspiring young people to develop their talent. This contest will accomplish both of those objectives.”

The requirement is to design a two-person Mars flyby mission for 2018 as cheaply, safely and simply as possible. All other design variables are open.

Alumni, professors and other university staff may participate as well, but the teams must be predominantly composed of and led by students. All competition presentations must be completed exclusively by students. Teams will be required to submit their design reports in writing by March 15, 2014. From there, a down-select will occur with the top 10 finalist teams invited to present and defend their designs before a panel of six judges chosen (two each) by the Mars Society, Inspiration Mars and NASA. The presentations will take place during a public event at NASA Ames Research Center in April 2014.

Designs will be evaluated using a scoring system, allocating a maximum of 30 points for cost, 30 points for technical quality of the design, 20 points for operational simplicity and 20 points for schedule with a maximum total of 100 points. The first place team will receive a prize of $10,000, an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 International Mars Society Convention and a trophy to be presented by Dennis Tito at that event. Prizes of $5,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 will also be awarded for second through fifth place.

All designs submitted will be published, and Inspiration Mars will be given non-exclusive rights to make use of any ideas contained therein.

Commenting on the contest, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “The Mars Society is delighted to lead this effort. This contest will provide an opportunity for legions of young engineers to directly contribute their talent to this breakthrough project to open the space frontier.”

Further information about the Mars Society may be found at www.marssociety.org.

Further information about Inspiration Mars may be found at http://www.inspirationmars.org.

1 Response to “Mars Society Launches Student Design Competition for Inspiration Mars Mission”


  1. 1 therealdmt

    Good to hear they’re active. Things have been a bit quiet on the Inspiration Mars front since the initial announcement. Getting students involved will definitely be inspiring. And if they can pull this off and get a crew to fly past Mars, well — Inspiration Mars!

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