What would life on Mars be like? An idle thought for many, but a question of utmost seriousness for 13 school students from Punjab's Jalandhar town who leave for the US on Tuesday night to participate in a NASA competition on a settlement on Mars.
The group of 13 space architect students and their two teacher advisors from Jalandhar's Apeejay School have been selected for the international space settlement design competition at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Johnson's Space Centre in Houston.
The competition, organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in collaboration with NASA, takes place between July 14 and 17.
Seven teams selected globally will compete to plan a settlement on Mars. A team of NASA scientists will judge the presentations.
The Apeejay School team is paired with California-based Whitney School for the space design competition. The schools have floated a company for this design competition.
As per the competition rules, the paired schools would be given parameters to design a space settlement for 10,000 people with all modern facilities on Mars.
They will have to create the settlement design with full costs of the actual project within 42 hours and give a presentation to NASA judges.
The Apeejay School team qualified for the final round of seven competing teams after going through three rounds.
The team comprises Ankit Singhal, Kanika Puri, Harleen Kaur, Arvinder Singh, Saurabh Chopra, Ankur Mahajan, Anoop Singh, Hardeep Singh, Mohit Thukral, Rohan Sardana, Aseem Handa, Varun Ahuja and Sandeep Aggarwal. Their team advisors are physics teachers Emmanuel Ratnaraj and engineering student Neeraj Kohli.
Two years ago, a joint team of Patiala's Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology and Buddha Dal Public School had won the competition from among all the teams for another space settlement design competition.