Press Release

Explore Mars Lends Support to Inspiring Future Generations of Space Explorers

By SpaceRef Editor
November 18, 2013
Filed under , ,

Explore Mars Inc. is joining the mission to inspire students to participate in Orion’s first space flight in 2014 through NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge (EDC). 

The Explore Mars organization will be collaborating with NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the National Institute of Aerospace to encourage students in the U.S. and abroad to think and act like scientists to overcome one of the major hurdles for deep space long-duration exploration – protecting astronauts and hardware from the dangers of space radiation.  

The challenge is broken into three age brackets for grades K-4; 5-8; and 9-12. All students who participate and complete a radiation shielding challenge will get to fly their names in space aboard Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1. 

High school teams in grades 9-12 will compete for the honor of flying their experiment payload aboard Orion, and the winning team will be flown to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to view the launch. 

During the mission, Orion will fly through the Van Allen Belt, exposing the students’ radiation shielding design to intense doses of radiation. Sensors protected by their design will determine whether or not they were successful in blocking radiation from penetrating the protective shielding.

“We are very excited to be part of this motivational exciting program,” commented Explore Mars Executive Director Chris Carberry.  “Finding ways to engage students in the space program is not only vital for space exploration, but also to promote STEM education needed to create future scientists and engineers who will get us to Mars.”

Assisting Explore Mars in these efforts will be Windrose Media.  According to Alyssa Murphy of Windrose, “We are happy to play a part in getting the word out about this wonderful program for youth of all ages. The Exploration Design Challenge is an ideal way for teachers to bring space exploration into the classroom and offer a practical approach to science education. We have been very successful in engaging national audiences for other educational campaigns and feel fortunate to play a role in this amazing project!”

Over the upcoming months, Explore Mars and Windrose will assist the EDC team to inform schools, students, and STEM organizations around the world about this program. 

“It is our goal to engage thousands of educators and students to sign up for this challenge over the next several months,” commented Explore Mars President Artemis Westenberg.

To learn more about the Exploration Design Challenge and sign up to join the mission and become a virtual crew member, visit:

About Explore Mars Inc. 


Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula. Learn more at


SpaceRef staff editor.