Meeting The Mars Challenge a Few Miles North of Pittsburgh

Local students are being asked to come to Mars Borough in Butler County to help solve the challenges of getting to and living on Mars.

photo: shutterstock


As scientists and explorers contemplate how humans can settle Mars, called the Next Great Frontier, they also must consider the challenges eventual colonists will have to overcome.

In line with this thinking, Mars Borough is hosting the first “Meet the MARS Challenge!,” a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) event open to students in grades 9-12.

Participants are asked to identify a challenge they believe humans will encounter on Mars within one of four categories: Mechanical, Agricultural, Relationships and Survival (MARS). Students then will be asked to solve the identified challenge.

Open to both local area high school and homeschooled students, participants are allowed to work individually or in groups of up to five. They will present their projects in a science fair-like style. Within each of the four categories, a first-, second- and third-place winner will be named.

“This is a great opportunity for high school students to learn more about these critical industries and possibly make the decision to pursue one of them in the future,” says Missy Gralish, communications chairperson, in a news release. “We are hopeful that schools and students will embrace this challenge and use it as a great opportunity to put their creativity and problem-solving skills to the test.”

This event will be held during the Mars New Year celebration, kicking off on May 4 with a dinner and followed by two days of STEAM-focused educational activities and displays. Students will be asked to set up their displays for judging during the celebration.

“Our community has a real opportunity to impact a historic, worldwide event,” says Mars Mayor Gregg Hartung, president of Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau.

“NASA is actually preparing to colonize Mars in the near future, and it’s amazing that Mars [Borough] and especially our students right here in Butler County, have the opportunity to be involved in identifying the types of challenges they may face and provide solutions on how to address them.”

Sponsors of the event include NASA, WTAE-TV, Mars Area School District and many more. Scientists and representatives from NASA divisions across the country, PITT Mobile Science Lab and the Carnegie Science Center will be hosting demonstrations and activities.

Registration is open now through February 1. More information can be found here.

Categories: Great Minds