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Guide to the NASA Student Space Settlement Design Contest Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Administrative History
  • Indexing Terms
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement of the NASA Student Space Settlement Design Contest Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: NASA Student Space Settlement Design Contest Collection
    Date (inclusive): 2000-2018
    Date (bulk): 2006, 2013, 2015
    Collection Number: ARC20.02
    Extent: 2 cubic feet

    (with 82 digital copies, 1.01 Gigabytes)
    Repository: Ames Research Center, NASA Ames Research Center Archives
    Moffett Field, California 94035
    Abstract: This collection contains a selection of student entries for NASA's annual space settlement design contest in the form of thirty four original artworks and ten technical reports created by students from around the world in grades twelve and under. Also included is a 2008 technical paper about the contest and the lessons learned from it, and a photograph of contest ephemera (a clock). The bulk of the collection has been digitized.
    Language: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-government material, researcher must contact the original creator.

    Preferred Citation

    NASA Ames Research Center Archives, NASA Ames Research Center. Moffett Field, California. ARC20.02, NASA Student Space Settlement Design Contest Collection, [Container number] : [Folder number]. [Identification of item]. [Date, if available].

    Abbreviated Citation

    NASA ARC. ARC20.02, [Container number] : [Folder number]. [Identification of item]. [Date, if available].

    Acquisition Information

    Transferred by Ruth K. Globus on February 6, 2020 (Acc. 2020-002).


    Official NASA digital photographs of the front sides of the works, as captured by Ames Research Center photographer Dominic Hart were added to this collection in August 2023 (Accession 2023-016, ARC-TR-2023-016).

    Administrative History

    NASA Ames Research Center sponsored an annual international student space settlement design contest from 1994 to 2018, in conjunction with the National Space Society. The contest was co-founded and led by Ames scientist Al Globus. Each year, students were tasked with designing a permanent orbital space colony, with no restrictions on how their design should be executed or presented. Entries ranged from detailed engineering reports to artistic conceptualizations developed by both individuals and teams. The contest was intended for students in the sixth to twelfth grades, with students in different grade levels being judged separately. Over the years, participants in lower grades also submitted entries, which were accepted, and some won awards. Several categories of awards were given out, including one for art and a grand prize for the overall best entry. Submissions had to be mailed by post in paper form to arrive at Ames by March 31 of each year to be judged by a panel of the center's scientists and engineers. To keep costs down while also engaging students from around the world, administration of the contest was largely conducted through an informational website developed by Al Globus. In 2019, sponsorship of the contest, along with the website, was transferred to the National Space Society. (An archived copy of the 2018 version of the website is in the NASA Ames Research Center Archives. See Related Collections.)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms may be used to index this collection.

    Corporate Name

    Ames Research Center

    Personal Name

    Globus, Al
    Globus, Ruth K. (Ruth Kathleen), 1954-


    School contests
    Space (Art)
    Space Colonies--Design and Construction

    Scope and Content

    This collection comprises a conference paper about the contest presented at the 2008 International Conference on Environmental Systems, and a small assortment of contest entries from students around the world, which were accumulated by Ames senior scientist Ruth Globus. She participated as a judge and, for a time, was a NASA civil servant sponsor for the contest. Globus displayed some of the artwork in her office over the years. Also included is a photograph of space settlement design contest ephemera in the form of a clock that sat on a bookshelf in Globus's office at Ames.
    Contest entries in this collection include ten technical reports, most of which are grand prize winners, and thirty four original artworks submitted by students in grades twelve and below from schools in Bulgaria, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Romania, South Korea, and the United States. Many of the artworks received prizes for artistic merit. Some submissions have entry forms with more information, including short descriptions from the students.
    The bulk of the collection has been digitized. A separate container list in tabular form is provided for this material.


    A container list for this collection is available in a separate document.

    Arrangement of the NASA Student Space Settlement Design Contest Collection

    Contest entries are arranged chronologically by type (artwork or report), then by artist and team. Digital reproductions of artwork files are arranged in two sets. One set in PDF format provides reproductions of both sides of the works as well as any supporting documentation. A second set in JPG format provides official NASA photographs of the front sides of the works, as captured by Ames photographer Dominic Hart (NASA photograph catalog series ACD23-0090).