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NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest 2018

NSS and NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest

This annual contest, co-operated by NASA Ames Research CenterSan Jose State University, and the National Space Society (NSS), is for all students up to 12th grade (18 years old) from anywhere in the world. Individuals, small teams of two to five, and large teams of six or more are judged separately. Entries are also grouped by age/grade of the oldest contestant for judging. The age groups are 7th and under, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. The grand prize is awarded to the best entry regardless of contestant age. Students develop space settlement designs and related materials. These are sent to NASA Ames for judgement. Submissions must be received by February 15.

We are soliciting testimonials of experiences with this contest. If you have something to say about your experience with this contest, send an email to (this email address is for testimonials only and NOT for general questions). Selected testimonials will be posted on the NSS web site and/or used in a scientific paper on the contest. Accepted testimonials may be edited for English and clarity.

Contest prizes and certificates:

  • All submissions must be received by February 15.
  • A NASA certificate will be sent to all winners. By default we send paper certificates to the address on the entry form. You can opt to receive your certificates as pdfs sent to your email address, which is much faster and more reliable. There is a check box on the entry form to request a pdf.
  • Participant certificates will be distributed in pdf from this web page on the honor system.
  • The best submission, regardless of category, wins the grand prize, consisting of the space colony submission being placed on the NASA Ames World Wide Web site.
  • The National Space Society (NSS) invites all 2018 contest participants to attend the NSS annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Los Angeles, USA, May 24-27, 2018. Every year, hundreds of contestants attend, along with their parents, teachers, siblings and friends. Special activities for contestants are planned, including:
    • The single highest scoring team or individual attending will receive the $3,000 NSS Bruce M. Clark, Jr. Memorial Space Settlement Award. If a team wins, the sum will be evenly divided amongst them.
    • The highest ranking winners attending will be invited to give oral presentations as time is available.
    • To the extent space is available, all contestants who attend will be invited to display a poster of their work.
    • Special sessions are arranged for contestants, teachers, parents, etc.

    These activities are not yet finalized and may change. Nonetheless, this is a tremendous opportunity to present your work, meet some of the most important people in space development as well as your fellow contestants, and have a great time. If you are planning to attend the ISDC, please see the ISDC Space Settlement Students Web SiteOnly if necessary contact Note: Contestants are responsible for all travel arrangements, visas and conference expenses. Also, minors (children under 18) must be accompanied by a responsible adult (21 years or older). Among other potential problems, the hotel may not allow checkin without an adult in the party. Students from outside of the U.S. planning on attending the ISDC should apply as soon as possible for a passport and visas as it may take some time (months) to acquire one. This is the first year contestants have been invited to an ISDC outside of the United States. We do not yet know what the procedures and requirements for visiting Canada are. If you need a letter of invitation, please use the ISDC Invitation Letter formONLY if that does not work, requests for letters of invitation can be sent to along with with the school name, address, and names of students, teachers, or family members needing the letter.

  • Contest categories are
    • 7th grade and under: individual, small group, large group,
    • 8th grade: individual, small group, large group,
    • 9th grade: individual, small group, large group,
    • 10th grade: individual, small group, large group,
    • 11th grade: individual, small group, large group,
    • 12th grade: individual, small group, large group.

    Additional categories based on artistic and literary merit are also included in the contest.

  • Contestants give NASA the right to publish their submissions without restriction as a condition for entering the contest.
  • For additional information see the rest of this page and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

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