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The ultimate dream for any school student would be to make it to Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in the US. And win a competition there. Students of Bishop Cotton Boys School, Bangalore did precisely that - win the international prize for designing a settlement on Mars. They were joint winners in the Asian final with a Pakistan school.
Bishop Cotton, along with three other schools - from USA, Romania and UK - all of whom were part of `one company' that designed the settlement of Mars, was declared international winners of the space settlement design competition for 2011 organized by Nasa on July 30, 31 and August 1 at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA. Anil Agarwal, one of the Bishop Cotton team members, said: "We designed a settlement on Mars that had all the requirements for a human being to live there. From water to energy to food to agriculture to air and atmosphere, the space settlement met all standards prescribed by Nasa scientists." Agarwal and friends did a lot of research on space before getting into the competition. "We did extensive reading on everything about space, how space is different from earth and what was needed for humans to live in space and on other planets like Mars," Agarwal said. Bishop Cotton first won the national round designing a settlement in an asteroid. Then at the Asian level, three schools competed in the final, Bishop Cotton, a Kolkata school and a Pakistan school. Of the three, Bishop Cotton and the Pakistan school made it to the international final. "It was an amazing experience to work with students from Pakistan. As people and human beings, we are just not different. We got along very well with them and they were very friendly. We realized it's only politics that makes us seem different," Agarwal said. Once both teams made it to Houston, Bishop Cotton and the Pakistan school were not part of the same group. Different schools were to join together and form a company and then each company would design a space settlement. While Bishop Cotton team won the finals, the Pakistan school was runners-up. Agarwal said the final also had questions from Nasa scientists. "We were able to handle all questions, thanks to our research. Among our team, there were different ideas on how we should design the settlement. We had to come to a consensus on the specifics which we did after discussion. Once we had agreed upon the model, we set upon completing our work," said Agarwal. AT A GLANCEBishop Cotton Boys School had been participating in the competition earlier, but this is the first time they have won the international finals.Students were given 36 hours to complete their design.They were accompanied by two teachers and the school principal.The students were given a trophy and a certificate from Nasa.
Courtesy: Times of India
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