The Generation Beyond challenge, organised by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education, has recently been awarded to young scientists at schools from North London and Surrey in the United Kingdom. This STEM-inspiring programme was dedicated to creating a new generation of astronauts and scientists by asking them to create a habitation module for Orion, NASA’s spacecraft that will take the first crew to Mars in the 2030s. The individual award was given to nine-year-old Jedd Flander from Barrow Hills School in Surrey.
The Team Prize went to Helia Najafi (9), Veer Thakkar (11), Krisha Shah (11) and Adithya Raghuraman (10) from Alpha Prep School in Harrow, North London. Their 3D model of ‘Andromeda’ included unique ideas of sleeping quarters, an entertainment room and an artificial gravity shower. To see the winning video, please click here. We have recently spoken to ‘Team Andromeda’ to see how they came up with the winning formula.
First of all, congratulations on winning the challenge! How do you feel about winning it?
Helia Najafi: I feel wonderful and I am very proud about winning the Generation Beyond challenge.
Veer Thakkar: I feel delighted, jubilated and extremely pleased with myself and Team Andromeda.
Krisha Shah: I feel extremely elated and over the Moon upon winning the video challenge.
Adithya Raghuraman: I feel extremely joyous and proud about winning the Generation Beyond video challenge.
Did you have much help from your teachers or parents?
Helia Najafi: I didn’t have much help from anyone much but I got some engineering and craft ideas from my dad as he is an engineer, and our teacher filmed our video.
Veer Thakkar: In Year 5 we covered the topic of space and its aspects, so we applied that knowledge in this project.
Krisha Shah: My parents encouraged me and my teacher filmed our awesome video.
Adithya Raghuraman: No, my mum gave me ideas but I refused to use them…
How long did it take you to come up with your idea and make the model?
Helia Najafi: It took about a week to think of an idea and two weeks to build and complete the project and video.
Veer Thakkar: It took us approximately three weeks to complete our project.
Krisha Shah: It took us about three weeks to complete our project.
Adithya Raghuraman: It took us three weeks to complete it.
Who came up with the name ‘Andromeda’?
Helia Najafi: We thought of different ideas and voted for the best name which was Team Andromeda.
Veer Thakkar: We did a vote, so it was a team idea.
Krisha Shah: Coming up with the name Andromeda was a team effort.
Adithya Raghuraman: We all came up with different ideas and Team Andromeda won a vote.
What was the most fun part of making this model?
Helia Najafi: Using my STEM skills to build the project.
Veer Thakkar: Personally, the best part was the filming.
Krisha Shah: The most fun part was working as a team and filming a great video!
Adithya Raghuraman: The most fun part was filming it… (We made lots of mistakes).
Did you enjoy space and science before the challenge?
Helia Najafi: Yes, a lot. My favourite subject was science and it still is. I also want to be a paediatrician when I grow up, so I specifically enjoy human biology.
Veer Thakkar: Yes, I have always enjoyed the subjects of aviation, aeroplanes and rockets as a child.
Krisha Shah: Yes, science has always been my favourite subject.
Adithya Raghuraman: Yes I did. I enjoyed science a lot and got into the inter-school ‘Quiz club’, which we took part in very well.
Do you feel more interested in science and space now?
Helia Najafi: Yes, I really enjoy science more than anything.
Veer Thakkar: Yes, I feel that this project has taught me new things and enhanced my understanding of space.
Krisha Shah: I definitely feel more interested in space and would love to learn more about it.
Adithya Raghuraman: Yes I do feel like that and I am inspired by Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education to enjoy science more.
Do you want to be astronauts when you’re older?
Helia Najafi: I enjoy space but I’d rather stick to the ground. I still really enjoy space and science.
Veer Thakkar: In actual fact, I would like to be an aeronautical engineer and possibly work for NASA or Lockheed Martin when I am older.
Krisha Shah: I actually aspire to be a doctor. However, I still enjoy learning new things about space.
Adithya Raghuraman: Not really because there are lots of dangers in space, but I would love to become a scientist.
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