Princess Margaret NASA Club members going to Houston Texas for the International Space Settlement design competition (from left

Students blast into the future

Princess Margaret teens create winning city in space.

For the last nine months, 10 students from Princess Margaret Secondary have been aiming for the stars.

For the second year in a row, members of the schools NASA Club have been selected to participate in the International Space Settlement Design Competition on July 27 at the Lyndon B. Johnston Space Center in Houston, Texas.

This is the second time Princess Margaret has been chosen for the final round of the competition and is once again the only school representing Canada.

Following numerous interviews that began last summer, 10 Princess Margaret students were selected in September to design a city of 14,200 people that would be capable of orbiting around Mercury.

The competition, open to schools around the world, is designed to give students an opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers using physics, mathematics, management skills and teamwork to design a space colony, as well as give them a chance to work alongside aerospace industry engineers and managers.

“We had to be extremely detailed,” said Princess Margaret Grade 12 student Sindi Sharma, “but our team is so good because we have such a wide variety of talent. Some of our team members are interested in the medical field, others in science and engineering. I want to go into business.”

The students had to submit a 40-page report outlining in detail their overall plan for a livable city that includes schools, hospitals, and recreation space, along with methods of growing food and incorporating future technology that would allow humans to flourish in space. All this while factoring in gravity, the laws of physics and overall cost.

“And it had to look good as well,” said Sharma. “You need to attract people to your city.”

The initial school proposal was submitted online with Princess Margaret being selected one of 12 finalists to go to Houston this month.

Once there, the team will be matched up with three other teams from Pakistan, Australia and the U.S. (Colorado) and will be expected to design another colony in just two days.

Team advisor Sumit Rathore, an SFU Surrey engineering student, is a strong supporter of the competition.

“We learned a lot last year. It’s such a practical way to apply science that you learn in the classroom.”

In order to help fund their trip, the students are looking to raise between $15,000 and $16,000 and are hoping for donations from the public.

For information about the program or how you can help, contact Princess Margaret Secondary School Principal Neder Dhillon at

To see all the winning proposals, go to





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