National Space Society Settlement Contest 2021 for School Students

Posted in on September 4, 2020

Description :

The National Space Society Settlement Contest has been sponsored by NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018, for many of those years in conjunction with the National Space Society (NSS). In 2019 sponsorship was fully transferred to the National Space Society.

Submission Deadline is Feb 15, 2021

Contest deadline, Prizes and Certificates:

All submissions must be received by February 15.

Participant certificates will be distributed in pdf form. You will get a link to this certificate when you submit your entry.

Winner certificates, also in pdf format, will include the names of the students. These should arrive via email by late August. The registered user email address will be used.

The best submission, regardless of category, wins the grand prize, consisting of the space settlement submission being placed on the contest World Wide Web site.

The National Space Society (NSS) invites all contest participants to attend the NSS International Space Development Conference (ISDC). Unfortunately the 2020 Conference has been cancelled due to the coronavirus situation, so 2020 and 2021 contestants will be invited to the 2021 Conference. Every year, hundreds of contestants attend, along with their parents, teachers, siblings and friends. Special activities for contestants are planned, including:

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.

The highest ranking attending entry will receive the Herman Rubin Award of $5,000 and give a plenary talk at one of the conference’s signature events.

Contest categories are

7th grade and younger: 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.


Submissions must relate to free space settlements. Settlements may not be on a planet or moon, although support activities such as mining may be. Settlements must be permanent homes, not temporary work camps. Submissions may focus on one or a few aspects of space settlement and supporting systems, including mines, activities leading up to settlement (such as space hotels), economic and social issues, etc.

Designs, original research, essays, stories, models, artwork or any other orbital space settlement related materials may be submitted.

Submissions should not be longer than 50 pages unless it is essential to explain the work. The project must consist of 1-10 pdf or jpg files (usually just one). Each may be no larger than 24 MB.

Submissions will be made electronically.

The submission must be the student’s own work. Plagiarism is forbidden. No part of an entry may copied with one exception: You may quote short passages, but only if the material is surrounded in double quotes (“) and the source indicated. For example: “This material copied from somewhere,” My Favorite Space Book. Quoted materials should rarely be more than a few lines, and never longer than a few paragraphs. Quoting long passages is forbidden. Entries caught plagiarizing, even one part of a large entry, will be disqualified and disposed of.

Instructors, mentors or parents may assist the student by presenting relevant resources, discussing core concepts and suggesting minor edits, but the work itself must be entirely student produced.

All entries that are not excluded for plagiarism will be judged by one or more judges on their merits. Once the judges submit their scores on a particular entry, the judges’ scores cannot be changed. All decisions by the judges are final. The judges’ decisions cannot be challenged in any way by any contestant. By submitting your entry, you agree that you cannot and will not contest the judges’ decisions in any way.

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