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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    AIAA Foundation Announces Results of Its Undergraduate Life Sciences Team Design Competition

    September 6, 2017 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation is pleased to announce the results of its 2016–2017 Undergraduate Life Sciences Team Design Competition.

    The competition asked teams to design an exploration, transportation and logistical support base on the Martian moon Phobos, capable of being used as a jumping-off point for human exploration missions to the surface of Mars.

    The winners are:

    • First Prize: University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Team members: Timothy Bishop, Victor Kitmanyen, Thomas Lagarde, and Zachary Taylor. Dr. Olga Bannova, faculty advisor. The team received a prize of $500.

    • Second Prize: University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. Team members: Emmie Bolt, Greg Castaldi, Sami Connolly, Duncan Hacker, Cam Ruffle-Deignan, Moritz Thali, Matthew Walton, and Jacob Wainer. Darren Hitt, faculty advisor. The team received a prize of $250.

    • Third Prize: Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. Team members: Sanjeev Adhikari, Rajan Bhandari, Raj Kumar Gurung, and Arjun Magar. Sudip Bhattrai, faculty advisor. The team received a prize of $125.


    “Successful human exploration of Mars faces many challenges, among them providing logistical support to a team of explorers on the Martian surface,” said AIAA Executive Director Sandra Magnus. “One potential solution is the establishment of a support base on Mars’ moon Phobos. The designs we received for such a base from the competing teams were both captivating and imaginative, each an example of the creativity and forward-looking vision that the aerospace community is known for. The AIAA Foundation thanks all of the students who took part in this event and congratulates the winners.”

    For more information about the AIAA Foundation Undergraduate Life Sciences Team Design Competition, please contact Rachel Dowdy at or 703.264.7577.

    About the AIAA Foundation
    The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit


    About AIAA  
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is nearly 30,000 engineers and scientists, and 95 corporate members, from 85 countries who are dedicated to advancing the global aerospace profession. The world’s largest aerospace technical society, the Institute convenes five yearly forums; publishes books, technical journals, and Aerospace America; hosts a collection of 160,000 technical papers; develops and maintains standards; honors and celebrates achievement; and advocates on policy issues. AIAA serves aerospace professionals around the world—who are shaping the future of aerospace—by providing the tools, insights, and collaborative exchanges to advance the state of the art in engineering and science for aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551