Explorer Scouts and high school students from the Southern California area will gather at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory April 7-9 to design a realistic proposal for establishing a human colony on Venus.

The weekend competition -- called Spaceset '95 -- is the centerpiece of the 10th annual Space Settlement Design Competition, sponsored by the Space Exploration Scout Post 509.

About 120 participants will split into working groups and spend the weekend designing a surface colony for their newly habitable planet. Spaceset '95 builds on last year's Spaceset '94 competition, in which high school students ages 15 to 19 were asked to build a space station in orbit around Venus. Now Venus has undergone some unusual changes which have transformed the planet's oven-like atmosphere into an environment that would be hospitable for human settlement.

JPL technical staff and representatives from the aerospace industry will coach the groups of students this year as they formulate blueprints for the next step -- establishing a Venusian colony of human settlers.

"We hope to instill a sense of excitement and challenge in students who are showing an interest in science and engineering at this point in their educations," said Dr. Peter Mason, committee chairman for the JPL-affiliated Explorer Scout post. "The goal is to show them that science and engineering can be fun and can lead to rewarding careers later in life."

At the end of the competition the students will make a formal presentation of their designs to a panel of judges comprised of managers and engineers in the aerospace industry.

All high school students between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are welcome to participate in Spaceset '95. Cost of the event is $52, which includes housing and meals for the weekend. Spaceset '95 is sponsored by the post's members and adult advisors.

For further information, contact the Spaceset Hotline at (818) 447-8694.

News Media Contact