These are STEM or Space related opportunities that are currently available to residents of Colorado. Please see linked web pages for additional information. Not everyone will qualify for these opportunities. We are not affiliated with any of the organizations offering these opportunities and inclusion here is not an endorsement of any company or organization.


Opportunity: Mechanical Maker Challenge: Mechanical Eye
Deadline: January 30, 2019 11:59pm ET

Description: With its sulfuric acid clouds, temperatures over 450°C, and 92 times the surface pressure of Earth, Venus is one of the most hostile planetary environments in the solar system. While most electrical components do not survive long in these conditions, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we have found an approach that just may allow us to rove the surface, an automaton (or clockwork mechanical robot) rover. While we have been working hard to turn this innovative concept into a reality under a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) funded study, we could use YOUR help to address some of our toughest mechanical design challenges! The Mechanical Maker Challenges are a series of challenges seeking to engage YOUR creativity to invent mechanical ways of performing traditionally electrical tasks. Currently, there are no cameras or imagers that work for more than a few minutes at Venus temperatures. However, photodiodes may soon be developed which could operate at Venus temperatures. The Challenge: Build a mechanical camera system which can take an image with no more than one photo diode and: Has a field of view of 2 meter x 2 meters at 2.5 meters from the camera (angular field of view about 60 degrees); Has a maximum pixel size of 10 mm x 10 mm (minimum resolution of 200 x 200 pixels); Converts the image into an electrical or rotational signal. This electrical or rotational signal must be transmitted at least 1 meter to another location, and then used to reconstruct the image; Completes the task within 5 hours. The first place winner will have the opportunity to demonstrate and give a short presentation on their device at JPL/Caltech. JPL/Caltech will cover all travel costs up to $1,000. First place and two runner-ups will receive a 3D printer Commemorative Mechanical Maker Challenge Coin.

Opportunity: 2019 Student Rocket Launch
Deadline: January 31, 2019

Description: United Launch Alliance (ULA) has issued its request for student teams from kindergarten through 12th grade to create “payloads” for the 2019 ULA and Ball Aerospace Student Rocket Launch. More than 20 K-12 student teams will have a chance to design, build and launch objects, experiments or instruments on the ULA-intern-built Future Heavy Super Sport rocket next summer. Teams can choose to compete for a chance to win up to $5,000 for their school or sponsoring nonprofit organization by guiding their payload closest to a designated ground-based target.

Opportunity: Mars Colony Prize
Deadline: March 31, 2019

Description: The Mars Society is holding a special contest called The Mars Colony Prize for designing the best plan for a Mars colony of 1000 people. There will be a prize of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $2500 for third. In addition, the best 20 papers will be published in a book – “Mars Colonies: Plans for Settling the Red Planet.” The contest is open to all people from every country. You can work alone or as part of a team. Each contestant will need to submit a report of no more than 20 pages presenting their plan by the deadline.

Opportunity: 27th Annual Frank J. Redd Student Competition
Deadline: April 16, 2019

Description: The student competition provides students with the opportunity to share their work on small satellite concepts and missions. Awards are given to competition finalists presenting at the Small Satellite Conference. Papers may be presented on relevant study and research related to small satellites, their systems and subsystems, mission concepts and related infrastructure. Participation is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an engineering or scientific discipline at an accredited college or university.