Living on the moon could include access to a golf course, balloon rides to telescopes and round-the-clock energy mining if a few East Valley students had their way.
Their ideas are just a few of the ones presented this week during the Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge that’s being put on at Mesa’s ASU Polytechnic campus.
Each year, the challenge asks students to design their ideal moon colonies. Like every year, the moon base must first be designed with the mining of H3, or triatomic hydrogen, from lunar rocks, as it’s primary goal.
This year’s secondary goal asked students to design a “tourism” aspect to their moon bases.
The “Colony Creators” from Mesa’s Madison and Wilson elementary schools put together a moon base that includes a “moon fair” with balloons rides to telescopes for galaxy viewing, a solar sail that would deliver items from Earth and a greenhouse.
The 50 moon colony residents would get their protein from chickens that would hatch from eggs delivered from Earth, they said. A polyethylene dome would protect the residents from radiation and meteorites.
Nicholas Kelly Garcia, 11, said the most difficult part of the five-month project was coming to agreement between team members.
“We all had different ideas of what to do,” he said.
And the most fun part was, “Trying to experiment what would be best for the colony and to be creative,” said Serena Myers, 11.
Students could only use $50 to buy any items to put together the models of their moon colonies. Everything else had to be recycled, so there were lots of egg crates and straws in the projects to represent different aspects of the colonies, such as dorms or cafeterias.
Students from Chandler’s Tri-City Christian Academy designed their moon base with luxury travel in mind. The EDEN Hotel, Spa and Base, would include the Neil Armstrong Executive Golf Course, a chapel, a recreation area with pool tables and plasma televisions, and a water treatment and storage center.
The students even created a brochure about the destination, with information about massages under the stars or walks on the moon that be included to create custom travel packages.
This is the third year students from the private school have taken part in the aerospace challenge, said Ken Trogen.
“This time they learned more about becoming part of a team and working together,” he said.
Michelle Hernandez of Mesa said she was surprised about all her 12-year-old daughter, Maya, learned during the team’s research.
“I was asking her questions last night. I said, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know you knew that,’” Hernandez said.
All together, more than 900 students from 40 schools participated this year.
Volunteers from Honeywell will judge the students’ critical thinking, decision making and communication efforts. The top six teams will compete in the finals Feb. 23 at Peoria’s Challenger Space Center for a chance to win a trip to in Houston.
“Some have come up with ways to automate the process to separate the H3 from lunar rocks,” said Ron Rich, a judge from Honeywell.
“Some are pretty creative. You can tell some put more thought into it than others,” said fellow judge, Chip Silcox.
Their designs went on display Monday and can be seen by the public 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Student Union at ASU Polytechnic, 7001 E. Williams Field Road in Mesa. Information can also be found at aerospacechallenge.com.
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