Category Archives: Contests and Games

NASA opens contest to name next Mars rover

NASA has opened Name the Rover Contest for the Mars 2020 mission, which is set to launch in July of next year.  Here is the announcement from NASA:

NASA Invites Students to Name Next Mars Rover

Red rover, red rover, send a name for Mars 2020 right over! NASA is recruiting help from students nationwide to find a name for its next Mars rover mission.

Starting Tuesday, K-12 students in U.S. public, private and home schools can enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover and be invited to see the spacecraft launch in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Name the Rover contest is part of NASA’s efforts to engage students in the STEM enterprise behind Mars exploration and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“This naming contest is a wonderful opportunity for our nation’s youth to get involved with NASA’s Moon to Mars missions,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It is an exciting way to engage with a rover that will likely serve as the first leg of a Mars Sample return campaign, collecting and caching core samples from the Martian surface for scientists here on Earth to study for the first time.”

The Mars 2020 rover is a 2,300-pound robotic scientist that will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

“Our Mars 2020 rover has fully taken shape over the past several months, as the project team installed various components onto the chassis: the computer brain and electronics; wheels and mobility system; robotic arm; remote sensing mast; the seven science instruments; and finally, the sample caching system,” said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive. “All that’s missing is a great name!”

To enter the contest, students must submit by Nov. 1 their proposed rover name and a short essay, no more than 150 words, explaining why their proposed name should be chosen. The essays will be divided into three groups, by grade level – K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 – and judged on the appropriateness, significance and originality of their proposed name, and the originality and quality of their essay, and/or finalist interview presentation.

Fifty-two semifinalists will be selected per group, each representing their respective state or U.S. territory. Three finalists then will be selected from each group to advance to the final round.

As part of the final selection process, the public will have an opportunity to vote online on the nine finalists in January 2020. NASA plans to announce the selected name on Feb. 18, 2020 – exactly one year before the rover will land on the surface of Mars.

For complete contest and prize details, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/participate/name-the-rover/

The naming contest partnership is part of a Space Act Agreement between NASA, Battelle of Columbus, Ohio, and Future Engineers of Burbank, California, in educational and public outreach efforts.

Name the Rover Contest

Register to be a Judge

NASA is seeking volunteers to help judge the thousands of contest entries anticipated to pour in from around the country. U.S. residents over 18 years old who are interested in offering approximately five hours of their time to review submissions should register to be a judge at: https://www.futureengineers.org/registration/judge/nametherover

Rover Update

With all major elements onboard and initial functional checks complete, Mars 2020’s Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations team is preparing the rover and its sky crane descent stage for the next big test: simulating the vibration dynamics of launch and the thermal environment the rover will experience on the surface of Mars.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for the agency. The Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management.

For more about NASA’s Moon to Mars plans, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars

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The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility

‘First Women on the Moon’ 2019 Essay Contest

The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and the Moon Village Association (MVA) are sponsoring the

‘FIRST WOMEN ON THE MOON’ 2019 ESSAY CONTEST
200-Word Submission Due 10 October 2019

2019 FWotM Essay Contest Announcement

Grand Prize: All-expenses-paid participation at ILOA Galaxy Forum China: Hainan, 25-28 February 2020 provided by ILOA
And one-on-one Astronaut briefing(s) provided by the Moon Village Association

Introduction: Working to help to fulfill the Apollo 11 message ‘in peace for all’, ILOA and MVA are sponsoring the 2019 First Women on the Moon Essay Contest. Only 63 women have been to space, and of the 12 Moonwalkers, all have been men. The first step toward realizing a future where peoples of varied genders, geographies and generations live off-planet may begin with The First Women on the Moon.

Grand Prize: Winner will attend all sessions, ceremonies and activities at ILOA Galaxy Forum China 2020, Hainan 25-28 February, and participate in the “First Women on the Moon” special luncheon panel featuring invited Astronauts Soyeon Yi, Naoko Yamazaki, other women Astronauts from China and USA (TBD); and potentially an Apollo Moonwalker. Direct purchase by ILOA will cover round-trip regular class airline travel to Hainan Island, hotel accommodation at Hilton Wenchang, Galaxy Forum registration fee and meals. Reimbursement for reasonable traveling incidentals such as meals at airports and ground transportation will be covered. Reimbursement for passport and visa, and expedited fees, will also be provided, if necessary.

MVA will provide direct, one-on-one Astronaut briefing(s) for a total of up to 3 hours with the winner, by skype or in person, at a date to be mutually agreed, to answer questions they may have about living and working in space, and perhaps one day on the Moon.

How to enter: Visit www.galaxyforum.org and use the online form to describe the significance of the First Women landing on the Moon, and why you would like to be one of the First Women on the Moon –  in 200 words or less. Submit your essay with your full name, age, mailing address, and telephone number.

Optional graphic: Contestants are encouraged, but not required, to submit an original drawing, photograph, or image of any size to support their essay. Please do not submit any copyrighted or other intellectual property materials.

Deadline: All entries due by 10 October 2019 at 12:00 Hawaii Standard Time (UTC-10).

Eligibility: Contest is open to all women 21 years of age or older by 25 February 2019, from any country, nation, continent, background and ability. English is the main language of Galaxy Forum China, Hainan, therefore we ask for essays to be submitted in English. Contestant must already have or be eligible to receive a Passport and a Visa to travel to Hainan, China for 25-28 February 2020.

Galaxy Forum Hainan 2020 – China: Developing program and details for Galaxy Forum China 2020 may be found here: https://galaxyforum.org/galaxy-forum-china-2020-hainan/

Further information and contact: Please visit the websites for International Lunar Observatory Association, Galaxy Forum, or Moon Village Association.

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See also the update on the winner and other entrants for the 2018 ‘First Women on the Moon’ Essay Contest.

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Galaxy Girls:
50 Amazing Stories of Women in Space

OK Go contest to send student “art experiments” to space on Blue’s New Shepard

The band OK Go is hosting the Art In Space contest in which a “student art experiment” will fly to space on the Blue Origin‘s suborbital New Shepard rocket vehicle. OK Go is partnering on the contest with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St Thomas, and sponsor Cognizant Technology Solutions. Here is the contest announcement from Cognizant

What would happen if an art experiment was launched into space? That’s the question that Grammy award-winning rock band OK Go is hoping to answer through its non-profit venture OK Go Sandbox.

In partnership with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas, the band is inviting students ages 11 to 18 to submit ideas for art experiments that will take place aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft. Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a reusable spacecraft designed to take payloads — and someday, people — into suborbital space. As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting creativity and inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering and math, Cognizant is sponsoring the “Art in Space” contest.

“Cognizant helps our clients across industries – including healthcare, life sciences, banking, retail, energy and technology – solve some of the world’s most complex challenges, and we will look to the next generation of creative thinkers to further our work,” said Jim Lennox, Cognizant’s Chief People Officer. “The resources provided by OK Go and Playful Learning Lab to help teachers inspire students is so important. We look forward to seeing how young minds around the world respond to the ‘Art in Space’ challenge.”

Students from around the world are invited to submit their project ideas; the deadline to enter is May 6. To read the contest guidelines and to learn more, click here.

The contest is the latest public involvement initiative at the band’s OK Go Sandbox project.

OK Go wants to put your student art experiment on a spaceship!

OK Go thinks creativity is all about the joy of experimentation.

Making a music video in microgravity was one big experiment. 

We tried all sorts of creative ideas and put them to the test within the limitations of physics and gravity.

Now we want you to try, but in actual space! The Art in Space contest invites your creative art and science minds to dream up your own cool experiments to send into suborbital space onboard the New Shepard spacecraft.

All you need is a great idea — if you win, our experts will help build it.

Got questions? We’ve got answers* (some answers, the rest are up to you!)

The band is well known for the innovative videos for their songs. Here is one filmed on an airplane that flew parabolic trajectories to product short periods of weightlessness:

More about the contest:

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Brief Answers to the Big Questions – Stephen Hawking

Space arts roundup – Feb.23.2019

Some recent items involving art and dance inspired by space:

** The Artists Inspire Astronauts contest is sponsored by NASA:

The goal of this challenge is to create an inspiring environment for astronauts before they head out on space missions. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is seeking submissions for original artwork to be displayed on a wall within the Astronaut Crew Quarters. The area is one of the last places astronauts will spend time before heading for the launch pad. Artwork on display may be visible during NASA video coverage of crew departure

Entry info:

The Challenge begins: February 15, 2019 
Submission Period: February 15 – April 30, 2019 (300 dpi image, 12” x 18”)
Judging Period: May 1 – June 1, 2019
Winners Notified No Later Than: June 7, 2019 
Winners Final Submission Due: June 28, 2019 (110 dpi image, 4’ x 6’ via CD/DVD)
Winners Announced: Summer 2019

In addition to seeing the work hung in the Astronaut Crew Quarters, the winner will also receive an

Invitation for artist and up to 3 guests to attend a Commercial Crew launch at Kennedy Space Center (NASA not responsible for travel arrangements)

More at ‘Artists Inspire Astronauts’ Contest | Colorado Space News.

** New documentary profiles Chesley Bonestell, who created many iconic depictions of space and space travel that were particularly influential in the years leading up to the start of the Space Age. The new documentary film, Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future, tells the story of his life and the impact that his work had on space artists, space pioneers, and the general public’s perception of space travel.

Poster for the film, “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future”.

Here is a trailer for the film, which is currently being shown at film festivals and selected theaters:

More about Bonestell (1888-1986) and the film at Visionary ‘space art’ pioneer Chesley Bonestell celebrated in documentary | Datebook/SF Chronicle.

“Saturn As Seen From Titan” by Chesley Bonestell

** A ballet inspired by the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond is being performed by the Boulder Ballet in Colorado.

On February 22, 23, & 24, 2019 Boulder Ballet is celebrating the landmark achievements of the New Horizons space mission with four special performances of New Horizons. These performances, featuring Boulder Ballet company dancers, honor NASA’s New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission. We’ve taken the beauty and mystery of space, the courage of exploration, the fragility and strength of humanity and mixed it with a dynamic score by a local award-winning composer and exciting choreography by a Boulder dancer/choreographer, creating a ballet that will take the audience on a journey of time and space. The music has been composed by award-winning composer Paul Fowler, music professor at Naropa University and the choreography is by Claire Davison, a Boulder Ballet alum now dancing with American Ballet Theatre.

These performances will also feature a piece choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Lance Hardin and Assistant School Director Amy Earnest to electronic music composed by Michael Schulze, a teaching associate professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. A third piece will be the audience favorite “Tropes” from the FACES of Boulder Ballet show presented in September, choreographed by company member Ryland Early.

The opening night post-performance celebration will be a unique opportunity to meet some of the local scientists who brought the New Horizons mission to life along with the artists who, through this performance, recognize this unparalleled accomplishment. We are excited and truly privileged to be bringing this unique combination of science and art—a perfect example of STEAM—to the Boulder community.

More at

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Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto

Space Foundation International Student Art Contest – sponsored by Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace saves the Space Foundation’s 2019 International Student Art Contest:

Firefly Aerospace Saves Space Foundation International Student Art Contest

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2018) – Since 2011, the Space Foundation’s International Student Art Contest has inspired thousands of children around the globe toenvision the possibilities and adventures to be found in space. However, for 2019, the art contest almost ended. In spite of participation by 4,578 children in 57 countries this year, a lack of sponsorship nearly killed plans for the contest to continue in 2019. But at the eleventh hour, Austin-based Firefly Aerospace stepped in to sponsor the art contest for 2019.

“Imagination combined with hard work brings new things into reality. By encouraging students to envision destinations for their spaceships, and providing them the platform to share their creations, we hope to instill excitement in the next generation of space enthusiasts and entrepreneurs,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “Firefly is honored to partner with the Space Foundation to provide students around our world with the opportunity to artistically contemplate new worlds and promote expanding the limits of their imagination.”

Dr. Max Polyakov, Firefly’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Silicon Valley-based Noosphere Ventures added,

“I strongly support Space Foundation’s International Student Art Contest and believe it should be promoted widely. I asked my team to contribute to spreading the word about the contest. In the next year, I hope we, together with the Space Foundation, will initiate more projects aimed at youth.”

Student artists ages 3 to 18 years old are invited to enter the 2019 contest by submitting their original artwork. Children may draw, paint or create a digital mixed media image for the 2019 contest theme “Where Will Your Spaceship Take You?”

There is no cost to participate in the contest. The deadline to submit entries is noon universal time (12:00 UTC), Nov. 19, 2018, and artwork must be submitted online by the student’s teacher, parent or legal guardian, 18 years or older. Homeschool students are also invited to participate.

Prizes will be awarded by age category and the winners notified in February 2019.

Awards and Categories

The Space Foundation will award a total of 25 winners — first, second and third place for each age category and a Space Foundation Achievement Award.

Acceptable Artwork Media/Format

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed media
  • Digital art

Eight Age Categories

  • 3 – 4 years
  • 5 – 6 years
  • 7 – 8 years
  • 9 – 10 years
  • 11 – 12 years
  • 13 – 14 years
  • 15 – 16 years
  • 17 – 18 years

Prizes and Exposure

  • Winning entries will be displayed on the Space Foundation website and on the contest website, social media and at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, where space professionals from around the world will see the exhibit. View past contest winning artwork at: Art.SpaceFoundation.org
  • Winning artwork will also be displayed at the Space Foundation headquarters and Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.
  • All winners receive international exposure — digital images of past winners’ artwork have been sent to the International Space Station and displayed throughout China in 2018 as part of a national art exhibition by the Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA).

How to Enter

All artwork must be submitted electronically at Art.SpaceFoundation.org by a teacher, parent or legal guardian, 18 years or older. For general contest questions, contact the Space Foundation at ArtContest@SpaceFoundation.org.

Due to the high volume of entries, we are unable to contact each participant regarding contest status. Please watch Art.SpaceFoundation.org for details and announcements.

About Firefly Aerospace: Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park, Tex., Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine, and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif.

About the Space Foundation: Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – www.SpaceFoundation.org and DiscoverSpace.org – and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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The High Frontier: An Easier Way