Scroll to the bottom of this page to see some of the final presentations. 


Martian Greenhouse 2.0

A Collaborative Adventure for HS Students

Sept. 7 – Nov. 9, 2021



The Martian Greenhouse Project 2.0 team, in collaboration with AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and the Aldrin Family Foundation, is seeking systems designed to produce food for human habitation on Mars. These prototype systems will need to be self-sufficient and fit within a relatively small space. The greenhouse will provide habitat for the growth of a variety or varieties of edible plants.


Facilitating teachers and their high school students will be introduced to AIAA mentors in an experiential learning adventure. Each team will have an aerospace mentor.


Schools can participate with only a few students or an entire class. Each school works with their assigned mentor to create their own collaborative schedule. (asynchronous, synchronous, and in person) Our design team will support with resources for project management and facilitation strategies.


High School Students will be introduced to real engineers in order to think critically in the framework of aerospace exploration and development of skills such as problem solving, project management, public speaking, research skills, engineering tool literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, and goal setting.



Students research the subject, meet with mentors, maintain a collaborative portfolio of findings or results, and create a final product. You may use the attached RFP (Request for Proposal) or design your own RFP with your mentor.


Schedule for Excellence:

Synchronous Meetups – Each school is expected to attend weekly status report meetings covering research, technical questions, challenges, and project management updates. (Tuesdays @ 4:00 pm MT)


Optional Aerospace Forums – All participants are invited to join the Lockheed Martin Executive HS Internship Program’s weekly aerospace forums.  (Tuesdays @ 3:00 pm MST)


Learning Approach

Student Driven / Teacher Facilitated / Aerospace Industry Inspired and Informed


Marvelous Martian Mentors LINK

Participating Schools

Teachers                                                School                                                                                                                  Mentors

Emil Pulido                                             Our Lady of Guadalupe RC High School; Belmopan City, Belize                Dan Adamo

Mike Fairbairn                                        Egglescliffe School; Stockton, UK                                                                     Joseph Hart

Jolie Mc Dougall & Maricruz Itzab       Pallotti High School; Belize City, Belize                                                           Rhonda Ahrens

James Owino                                           Odyssey Early College and Career Options; Afton Way, CO.                      Bryce Meyer

Jeff Reinkensmeyer                                STEM School Highlands Ranch; CO                                                                Dr. Bill Peters

Michelle McMahon                                Wings Aerospace Pathways at Wings Over the Rockies; CO                      Tiziano Bernard

Dr. Rose Rohde & Dr, Trudi                  Astra Nova School; CA                                                                                      Stephen Leete

Wilson Mendoza & Guilber Mesh       Bishop Martin High School; Orange Walk Town, Belize C.A.                       Dr .Emily Matula

Tim Schuett                                            Erie High School; CO                                                                                          Dr. Jeff Umland (JPL)

Nadine Francisco                                  Georgetown Technical High; Stann Creek District Belize                             Dr. Giuliano Coppotelli 

Tom Kirk                                                 Tiger Trades Academy; CO                                                                                Stephen Leete

Jeavon Sanker & Monica Hua              San Jose Succotz; Cayo, Belize                                                                         Chetan Kulkarni & John Zipay 

November 9 Final Presentations (each team presents at a time TBA from the options below)

  •  12:45 - 1:45 pm (MST) - AIAA ASCEND 2021 (select teams invited to present)   

        Martian Greenhouse has been accepted as an ASCEND 2021 virtual session. 

        CLB.STEAM-04: Martian Greenhouse Collaboration, VCS-01,  


  • 3:00 - 4:00 pm - Presentation for the Lockheed Martin Executive HS Internship Program

  • 4:00 - 6:00 pm - Presentation for AIAA and Invited Guests (professionals, parents, teachers, and peers)


Zoom Invite for 3:00 - 6:00 pm MST Presentations: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 392 776 942


Design Team

  • Eric Wilson - · Project Management Mentor (Colorado School of Mines, PhD Student, Space Resources Program)

  • Jim Christensen - Executive Director of ShareSpace Education, the education arm of the Aldrin Family Foundation

  • Dr. Emily Matula - Extravehicular Activity (EVA, spacewalks) Flight Controller, NASA Johnson Space Center

  • Dr. Bill Peters - Optical Engineer at Lockheed Martin

  • Tom Kirk - Lead for Facilitating Teachers

  • Anne Tweed - Director of STEM Learning Solutions, LLC in Denver

  • Consuelo Godfrey - PathLight International, Belize

  • Craig Merrett - AIAA, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Clarkson University

  • Gregg Cannady - · Project Coordinator / Communication











Teachers wanting to form a team at their school contact: Gregg Cannady –

To confirm your participation, please fill out this survey: LINK

Martian Greenhouse 2.0 Request for Proposal (RFP)

Overview: The Martian Greenhouse Project 2.0 team, in collaboration with AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and the Aldrin Family Foundation, is seeking systems designed to produce food for human habitation on Mars. These prototype systems will need to be self-sufficient and fit within a relatively small space. The greenhouse will provide habitat for the growth of a variety or varieties of edible plants.


  1. Design of Structure

    1. Student teams are asked to design a self-contained greenhouse module with a volume no larger than 1 meter3. This volume includes all supporting equipment.

    2. Teams will create a set of procedures and plans that may be shared that allow others to duplicate their design.


  1. Growth of Plants

    1. Teams will provide a rational for their selection of a crop or crops to be produced.

    2. Teams will submit procedures and a time-line for planting, maintenance and harvest of their crop(s).

    3. Teams will provide a recipe for preparation of their crop(s) as a food source.


  1. Use of Water

    1. Teams will identify the amount of water that will be consumed by the system and create a water budget for their greenhouse design.

    2. Teams will address systems to limit use of water.


  1. Use of Energy

    1. Teams will identify the amount of energy that will be consumed by the system and create an energy budget for their greenhouse design.

    2. Teams will account for lighting and generation of power.


  1. Efficiency of the System

    1. Teams will calculate and submit a chart defining the efficiency of their system by comparing total use of energy and water to the total calories of food produced.


  1. Submissions

    1. Teams have the option of submitting one of the following packages

      1. Technical drawings and a descriptive paper,

      2. Technical drawings, a descriptive paper, and a conceptual model, or

      3. Technical drawings, a descriptive paper, and a functioning prototype

    2. Teams will create and post a brief video to YouTube that describes the process, products and learning by the team.


The RFP is designed with the idea of appealing to students with a wide range of interests and to make use of management strategies. Projects will not be judged against each other. The idea is to allow everyone a chance to compete with themselves against set functional standards.

Jim Christensen, Aldrin Family Foundation, 2021

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Martian Resources


Mars Facts


3D Printed 'Artificial Leaves' Could Provide Sustainable Energy on Mars


The Cultured Meat Revolution: Singapore and Israel One Step Closer to Commercializing Lab Grown Chicken


Astronauts Enjoyed a Fresh Supply of Leafy Greens Grown on the International Space Station


Bringing Space Home: The Role of Sample Return in Space Exploration: 


This algae bioreactor can remove as much carbon dioxide as an acre of trees


Algae Caviar, Anyone? What We'll Eat on the Journey to Mars


With Bugs and Algae, One Million People Could Live in Mars Colonies


Nasa's rover makes breathable oxygen on Mars:


Clever space algae could be the key to getting humans to Mars 


NASA is learning the best way to grow food in space


Terrestrial, Atmospheric, and Space Science


3D Printed Artificial Leaves Could Generate Oxygen on Mars


Automatic Gardening


Greenhouses for Mars


Roane Lab: Applied Microbial Ecology 


Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks


Getting Water From a Stone: How Life Survives in Extreme Environments


Space agencies are learning how to make food on Mars and the moon

Mars: Vast amount of water may be locked up on planet


Sneaky New Bacteria on the ISS Could Build a Future on Mars


Nasa's rover makes breathable oxygen on Mars 


Inspirational story about a 12-year old aerospace girl /


Decades of Mars research by CU faculty and students lays the groundwork for human astronauts|LASP|CU-Boulder

AIAA Classroom Grant Program

Google Workspace

Mars Science City project in Dubai

Decades of Mars research by CU faculty and students lays the groundwork for human astronauts

Technical Sketching

Nanoracks' spinoff aims to bring food production to Earth's deserts and orbital space

In an attempt to understand "Key (Driving) Requirements, I found these resources:

Mars Greenhouses: Concepts and Challenges. Proceedings from a 1999 Workshop:


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Telling the Story


ConOps (Concept of Operations)


From Dr. Matula:


These are used a lot in the aerospace industry (especially the space industry!) to describe how a system or technology is going to work during a mission. You can think of them like a story, it tells the audience how something is going to work or how it will be used during its activity.


Spaceflight Example

Below is a concept of operations of how NASA was going to test an emergency abort system for a crew capsule using parachutes.

The story it tells is: 

The abort system will be loaded onto a rocket, and launched.

The abort system will separate from its launcher and the top 2 parachutes will deploy and start to slow down the abort system connected to the crew capsule. 

After the crew capsule is slow enough, the abort system will release the crew capsule.

The crew capsule will start to land using its own 2 parachutes, release them, and finally land using its 4 parachutes








Everyday Example

When I am coming up with a concept of operations, I like to imagine how I would use the technology

Ex: A canvas grocery bag design










My story:

When I leave my house to go to the grocery store, I need to take something with me to carry my groceries in.

I grab my canvas grocery bag and put it in my car.

I get to the store, take my bag in with me, pick out my watermelon, and pay for the melon.

I put the melon in my bag and I walk out of the store to my car carrying the bag by its handles


Why we use ConOps

We will use ConOps to not only tell others what we are going to do, but also helps us think about what we expect our system to do, if we are forgetting anything in our design, and to make sure our design meets all our requirements.

My bag design

-Big enough to hold a melon

-Strong enough material to hold a melon

-Light enough for me to carry around in the store

-With handles for easy grabbing


Make a ConOps diagram that either describes

-How your greenhouse will be built/deployed

-How astronauts will plant, tend, harvest plants using your greenhouse systems

-How one of the systems in your greenhouse will operate/interact with the other systems in the greenhouse


Good luck and we look forward to having you share your ConOps diagrams with the other teams.


Presenting Tips for Slides 

(from Eric Wilson - The SLIDE master!)

  • Identify the key message(s) on each slide

  1. Each slide should have 3-4 key points at most.  If it’s an important element of your project – like your greenhouse drawing/model – I’d say just that one key point on a slide is great.

  2. A key message can have supporting bullet points below it.  But those shouldn’t be read to the audience.  They can read faster than you can talk so just touch on the header key points on the slide then move on.

  3. If the slide is strictly pictures or graphics, make sure to have your speaker notes handy.  Doesn’t need to be a script you read – you’ll come across as a better presenter with more natural speaking.  But keeping your 2-3 key bullet points on a note you can see during the presentation will help keep you focused and moving through the content.

  • Look for ways to combine slides

  1. If there are commonalities in key points on three slides, can the supporting text be deleted?  Pictures combined?

  2. While you can certainly leave the three slides in place and talk to each one for 20 seconds, it is often more effective to make one slide and talk for 45 seconds.  Just saved 15 seconds!

  • Practice presentation timing

  1. Create the slide deck, use 1 minute per slide as guidance.

  2. When you practice the speaking portion, target 30-45s per slide.  if you find yourself going over that by a lot, look for ways to delete content.  You practice at less than your planned minute per slide because most times you’ll be excited during the live session and will talk more.

PPT Example LINK