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May 4th, 2012

Meals on Mars Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Pickled Cucumbers (Isabella St. Onge and Carlisle Patete) for winning the Grand Prize for their entry in the Kids’ Science Challenge Animal Smarts category. Here’s their entry:

“Our idea is that if you build a capsule-shaped ship, that spins, it would create gravity using centrifugal force. You could then be able to grow plants normally, without genetic engineering. You could also put animals in the ship, such as jackrabbits and worms. You would put clay and dirt, on the inside edge, then plant vegetables in the ground. There would be a donut-shaped water tank in the center, that would be long, and tall enough that the astronauts would be able to eat and sleep in it. The water would also create a shield from ultra violet storms. There would be solar panels on the outer rim of the ship, so that LED lights would be able to be powered to provide light for the plants. Since the rabbit reproduce so quickly, they would serve as food and their waste would create extremely fertilized soil. Some of the vegetables on the ship could be cucumbers, corn, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great because you can eat every part of them. The corn can be harvested normally, and would be good to feed the rabbits. The cucumbers would be a fine idea to bring along because you can eat them as a raw snack and can preserve them by turning them into pickles, using brine. These vegetables can be stored in a storage tank, in the back of the ship. It would have an extra layer of clay to protect the food from UV rays. A smaller ship would be in the storage, so that when the astronauts get to Mars, they can send it out to find a safe place to land. It would have a drill on it, so it could explore the Red Planet.

We came up with this idea when we researched centrifugal force, and what plants are best for space. Origanally we were going to design powdered beverages, but it wasn’t what we bargained for, so Isabella asked her parents if there was a way to make gravity in space. They told her about centrifugal force. She has had rabbits before and knew how good for space they would be. I love worms and researched about how they fertalize the dirt. The space ship was first designed with a drill on it, but that had more than a few problems, so we made a smaller ship to survey Mars’ terrain. We remembered that NASA is looking for a new ship idea, so we decided to make the ships capsule-shaped, instead of the retired shuttle.”

See where Isabella and Carlisle traveled, in order to work with scientists to carry out his experiment!

View all of this year’s winners and finalists.

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