Six students from grade eight of DPS STS School Dhaka created ‘Project Clementia’ to participate in the ‘NASA Space Settlement Contest 2023’ and acquired the first prize in the competition. They won the award under the Grade 8 Large Group category.
NASA Space Settlement Contest has been held annually since 1994 and follows Professor O’Neill’s original thought experiment. No fixed requirements are given to students other than the project must focus on a free space settlement concept. Settlements must be permanent homes and cannot be temporary work camps. Settlements may not be on a planet or moon, but support activities like mining may be allowed in it. Submission may concentrate on one or a few aspects of space settlements and supporting systems, including mines, activities leading up to settlement, economic and social issues, and many more.
As many as 26,725 students from 19 countries attended the 2023 contest. Students from grades 7-12 can participate from anywhere in the world, and the submission process begins in December and continues till February. The winners get announced at the end of March. The NASA Ames Research Center and the National Space Society (NSS) sponsor the competition.
Two groups of students participated in the contest — seven from grade 7 (Project Elysium) and six from grade 8 (Project Clementia). The students submitted their projects online on the Award Force Platform of NSS. Project Clementia — consisting of Mohammad Mohaimin Uddin Naib, Md. Farzan Ali, Aayaat Gulfaam Mahmud, K A Adiyan Sadeque, Parikshit Singh, and Abrar Ehsan– won the contest.
On this occasion, Dr Shivananda CS, principal, DPS STS Dhaka School, commented, “When I first introduced the space settlement contest, the students were a little hesitant to participate as no precedents were available to them. However, all the participating students demonstrated outstanding teamwork and dedication while working. Furthermore, the in-charge teachers worked alongside the student teams and performed brilliantly throughout the project preparation. We are proud of the incredible achievement that our students from Project Clementia have achieved and hope that they may continue to achieve incredible feats in the field of Astronomy.”
The programme coordinators for the project submission were Ranjith S, Shahed Bulbul Papon, Amena Dewan, Bishwanath Bhattacharya, Hans Ankur Byapari, and Ashish Chatterjee.