Auroria is the city Princess Margaret Secondary students have designed for the 17th annual International Space Settlement Design Competition. Able to accommodate 11

Student space station designers NASA-bound

Princess Margaret Secondary foursome the only Canadian team named a finalist in international competition.

Things are looking up – way up – for four Princess Margaret Secondary students.

The science-minded seniors have been named finalists in the 17th annual International Space Settlement Design Competition and will travel to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston in July to compete alongside 11 other teams from around the world.

The Surrey students are the only Canadian team to be a finalist in the competition’s 18-year history.

“For a school to make it to the finals on a first submission is unheard of,” says teacher-sponsor Joe Sihota. “What they’ve done is astounding.”

The competition puts high school students in the moonboots of aerospace industry engineers in designing a city in space for 10,000 people, taking into consideration the housing, health, education, recreation, nutrition and employment needs of the population.

Students Supreet Singh, Smruthi Nair, Nikhil (Nik) Dhingra and Seshan Nair spent 45 hours a week from November to March working on their project while still keeping up with their regular school work and part-time jobs.

The result is a comprehensive, 55-page proposal submitted by the teen’s fictitious company PM Aerospace for the design, development and operation of “Auroria,” a donut-shaped luxury space colony located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

“It was a really intense, detailed and different type of project,” says Dhingra. “We just wanted to give it a try.”

Students had to rely heavily on their familiarity with physics, engineering and economics in order to provide the level of detail the project required, and even their teachers were struck by their knowledge.

At the finals in Houston, the foursome will be placed on a team with other finalists from around the globe and will have 48 straight hours to once again design a city in space.

The difference this time is that engineers from NASA will be on-site to provide guidance.

Princess Margaret’s principal, Neder Dhillon, says the school is extremely proud of the group for accomplishing something that no other Canadian team has managed to do.

“When they first submitted their proposal, a couple of students came and spoke at a staff meeting and shared what they were doing,” says Dhillon. “We were completely blown away.”

After making a presentation to the Rotary Club of Surrey-Newton last week, members were so impressed they agreed to cover the students’ travel expenses, estimated at $7,900.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

Surrey’s two largest hotels are now closed due to COVID-19; room bookings plummet elsewhere

Guildford’s 77-room Four Points property remains open with ‘minimum amount of business,’ GM says

Some Surrey landlords ‘kicking out’ businesses that can’t make rent

Surrey Board of Trade CEO suspects situation will be worse in May

UPDATE: Catalytic converters stolen from four ambulances being repaired in Delta

The thefts were reported on March 31, and police say they have no suspects at this time

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Overall messaging is up more than 50 per cent over the last month

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Update: Coquihalla re-opens, after incident requiring a medevac

DriveBC warns of continued delays and congestion

Most Read