NASA Awards Florida Teenagers $5000 Grand Prize for Space Settlement Design Project in Rigorous International Competition

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Six-student team from Weston Florida's Cypress Bay High School wins $5000 Grand Prize in 2013 NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest, competing against 592 entries from 20 countries.

The creativity and talent of our winning Cypress Bay High School team should make us all excited about the future of space exploration - Angela Ashley, "Maui" project advisor

NASA Ames Research Center announces that a Cypress Bay High School team has won the $5,000 Grand Prize in the 2013 NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest. The six-student team created a space settlement plan, “Maui,” which was selected for the top award from 592 submissions entered by 1536 students in 20 countries.

The “Maui” team of Robert Gitten, Jackie Linevsky, Zared Schwartz, Jonathan Schiller, Reagan Fuhr and Gabriel Teixeira, were advised by Cypress Bay High School Physics teachers Jeffrey Rose and Angela Ashley. The team worked on the “Maui” project for six months. This is the second year Cypress Bay High School has won the Grand Prize in the NASA Ames competition. Three of the students on the 2013 team – Gitten, Linevsky and Schwartz – were on the 2012 team. Teachers Rose and Ashley worked with the team last year.

According to NASA Senior Research Engineer Al Globus, “The Maui team delivered a unique and creative project based on energy export from Saturn and presented it in an original and believable manner incorporating both engineering and storytelling, cementing a place for Florida among the top of student space settlement design areas in the world.”

“Maui tells a story … of how extraterrestrial colonies may grow and develop from ramshackle frontier towns to bustling cities,” reads an excerpt from the 126-page project proposal. “Maui is the narrative of mankind’s first permanent settlement in the Saturn system, orbiting the moon Titan. This project will be divided into three phases, each taking a snapshot of Maui during a crucial period in its history. Phase 1 will read like a conventional design proposal. It is a plan for building a 124-person mining and scientific research base around Titan. It will include not only the engineering details of how this is to be done, but provide a strong economic case for why Terran entrepreneurs will initially invest in the project. The ultimate goal of phase 1 is to create enough of a profit to pay off Maui’s initial investment.”

Jeffrey Rose, instructor at Cypress Bay High School Physics Department, says, “I was thrilled to hear that our Cypress Bay team had been awarded the Grand Prize for the second year in a row. I am very proud of the hard work this talented group of students put into creating a project that is stunning in its complexity, creativity and scientific accuracy. This is an amazing team, and it has been my great pleasure to work with them. Winning the competition is simply icing on the cake!”

The “Maui” team members will present their paper and accept the $5,000 grand prize award at the International Space Development Conference during the Gala dinner in San Diego, California, May 24, 2013. Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India and one of that country’s leading aerospace scientists and engineers, will be the honored Gala Keynote speaker and accept the prestigious NSS von Braun Award.

Rose and Ashley plan to attend the NASA award ceremony with the Cypress Bay High School team. Angela Ashley, Cypress Bay High School Physics Department teacher, adds, “These kids are truly amazing and are the future of American Space Exploration. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with them. I can't wait to see where the future takes them.”

For more information about the Space Settlement Contest, visit:

The Maui project proposal can be read online here:

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Angela Ashley
Cypress Bay High School
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