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Can you ‘Name that Habitat’?

October 23, 2008 — The game show “Name that Tune” was so popular that versions of it have run on public and cable TV channels for decades. “Name that Habitat” likely won’t have such longevity, but it could win you and your classmates prizes from NASA and the Challenger Center for Space Education.

The two agencies want to know what to call an astronaut habitat that someday may be used on the moon. The lightweight, durable, inflatable habitat is now undergoing testing at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Through November 20, the Challenger Center is organizing and conducting the "Name that Habitat" competition for students in 6th through 12th grades. Only class entries are allowed.

Students will need to explain why their name should be used. The name should reflect the potential uses of inflatable habitats on Earth and other worlds. The name can be an acronym for a longer title, or a name that has some functional, historic, or other compelling significance.

A panel of educators, astronauts, polar explorers, space scientists, life scientists and engineers will judge the names, and when the team goes to Antarctica in January 2009 to check up on the habitat, the winning name and the submitting school will be announced from there.

An inflatable habitat is one of several concepts being considered for astronaut housing on the moon. The structure resembles a children’s inflatable backyard bounce house, but it is insulated, heated, pressurized, and has power. It offers 384 square feet of living space and has, at its highest point, an 8-foot ceiling.

NASA is looking to develop habitation modules for use on the Moon and Mars that are light - yet strong - and easy to set up. Other research agencies on Earth, such as the National Science Foundation, also have need of similarly portable habitats for research conducted in remote locations such as Antarctica.

Click here for the contest rules and more background on the habitat. Entries must be e-mailed by midnight EST on November 20, 2008.


Can you come up with a name for this habitat now being tested at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station?

The “Abominable Team” stands in front of the habitat, after erecting it in January 2008 in Antarctica.

Team members from NASA, the National Space Foundation and ILC Dover install a weather station next to the inflatable habitat. The team is stationed at the McMurdo Complex.

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