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Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax; 713/743-8199

January 12, 2004

Contact: Lisa Merkl
713/743-8192 (office)
713/605-1757 (pager)

Annual Competition Opens Doors for Future Scientists, Engineers

With all the recent buzz about missions to Mars in the next decade, the University of Houston is well on its way to making that a reality for local youngsters. Houston-area primary (grades three through five) and middle school (grades six through eight) students will converge on campus noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 17, for the citywide finals of the 2003-04 Mars Rover Model Competition. The event is open to the public.

Earlier this fall, teachers were trained at UH to guide their students in building models during six-week classroom-learning and homework projects about Mars. The students were given design criteria for a rover, requiring them to do basic research for designing and constructing a model of a Mars Rover to carry out a specific science mission on the surface of Mars. The best three teams from 30 Houston-area schools will present their creations that have been constructed out of mostly found objects and simple art supplies, costing a maximum of $25.

This competition is part of the education and public outreach component of the World Space Congress, made up of the world’s space community to chart new directions for humanity’s next decade in space. According to Edgar Bering, UH professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering, this program puts a fresh face on space exploration to excite a new generation of scientists and engineers.

WHAT: Mars Rover Model Competition
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004
Noon to 5 p.m.
WHERE: University of Houston
College of Architecture Atrium
Off Cullen Boulevard, Entrance 16
Parking available in lot 16

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