Twelve Rogers Ranch students had an opportunity to visit the Biosphere in Oracle last month for the Southwest Space Settlement Design Competition. Rogers Ranch was the only middle school competing at the event against high school students from Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California.

Students worked in teams to complete an aerospace engineering project. They had to design a vehicle to enable long term surface exploration of Mars for the purpose of identifying candidate sites for a future settlement on the Martian surface. NASA scientists were on hand to assist students with any questions or clarification. Teachers and adults were not allowed to assist the students.

It was exhilarating to see our students take what they were learning in 8th Grade science to solve problems on Mars. After the presentations, the scientist gave feedback to each team.

Mr. Gonzales (7th grade science) and Christina Pineda chaperoned the group. Training, lodging, food, mentors, and materials were provided.