On March 3, over 90 students from 22 schools in northwest Iowa headed to NASA's Johnson Space Center for the 2016 regional Space Settlement Design Competition that took place March 4-6. Ninety-five students from Iowa, two from South Dakota, and 103 students from Texas completed the roster for the competition.

Students on four teams spent around 42 hours crafting a proposal to a Request for Proposal (RFP) developed by a senior engineering professional from the Boeing Company. The students spent their time working within a company of around 50 students from either Iowa, South Dakota and/or Texas.

Throughout the 42 hours, students were challenged in a real-life STEM setting with support from NASA and Boeing engineers. Once they crafted their proposal, each company presented their proposal to a panel of judges from the foundation society, who selected the winning proposal.

Students from the winning company will be selected to participate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition help at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the end of July.  

Jordan Menning, educational consultant at Northwest AEA, said it was a tremendous experience for all involved; and the skills they gained will be invaluable as they continue their academic pursuits.