July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Space

Canadian Space Agency announces winners of Space Brain Hack student initiative

With the theme of food in space, the 2023-24 winners of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) student initiative Space Brain Hack have been announced. This is the second year of the initiative.

Prizes were awarded to students in grades 6-8 and 9-12. The task at hand according to the CSA was to create “fresh, tasty and nutritious food with as little waste as possible, for several astronauts on a mission to the Moon; (that) it should produce sufficient food to supplement that already provided to the crew; (and) takes into account the limitations of a lunar environment.”

The CSA said a committee of agency experts conducted a blind review based on the following criteria: communication, innovation, validity and critical thinking.

Space Brain Hack Winner Grades 6-8

The grand prize winners in the grades 6-8 category were Gurnaaz, Rishaan, Naisha and Taran, grades 6 from Bolton, Ontario, for their food production system. Edible Excellence 3000.

Edible Excellence 3000 is described as follows: “Designed to provide a varied selection of foods to astronauts on the Artemis mission, Edible Excellence 3000 is a complex food production system. When the grown edible plants reach maturity (using a system designed to enable farming in space), the robots will deposit them into a tube. They will then be sent through a pipeline and out, as food, to a preparation station to be cooked by robots. Once the food has been cooked, it will be sent to another station, and the astronaut who ordered their meal from the menu will just have to open the door and walk in!

Grade 6 to 8 winners: Edible Excellence 3000. Image credit: Canadian Space Agency.
Grade 6 to 8 winners: Edible Excellence 3000. Image credit: Canadian Space Agency.

In second place was The dome of life by Aya, Ellie, Alycia and Sarah, Grade 8 at Chambly Middle School, Chambly, Quebec.

In third place was The “Feels at home” system by Suvreen, Yash, Riya and Mehak, Grade 6, Macville Public School, Peel District School Board, Bolton, Ontario.

Space Brain Hack Grades 9-12 Winner

The grand prize winners in the grades 9-12 category were Anirudh, Agastya, Aankit and Hetav, grade 11 from Brampton, Ontario, for their TerraStack Food Production System.

He TerraStack Food Production System is described as follows: “The TerraStack modular ecosystem, which allows up to five different crop groups to be grown, would create near-autonomous food production for the long-term missions of the Artemis and Gateway lunar space stations. Its key components are a water recycling system, customizable environmental settings, a natural fertilizer system, and a system for extracting water from lunar soil to maximize the use of this rare resource on the Moon. Additionally, to accelerate plant growth, an autonomous vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence could produce fertilizers by collecting ammonia and carbon dioxide from the Moon's atmosphere and reacting them in an environmentally controlled compartment.”

Grades 9-12 Winners: TerraStack Food Production System.  Image credit: Canadian Space Agency.
Grades 9-12 Winners: TerraStack Food Production System. Image credit: Canadian Space Agency.

In second place was The lunar green vegetation system by Maithili, Tiffany and Nabira, Grade 10, White Oaks Secondary School, Oakville, Ontario.

In third place was Food Production Module by Matthew, Marko, Daria, Izabelle and Ben, Grades 11 and 12 at Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Vaughan, Ontario.

The CSA said the “three finalists in each category will participate in a virtual working session with CSA experts. During the session, they will present their solution to the experts and other winners and receive feedback.” For more details about each project visit the CSA website for the Space Brain Hack initiative.

A third edition is expected to be announced this fall.

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