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Elementary students experience successful ‘Mission to Mars’

(Left to right) Airman 1st Class Zack Davis and Senior Airman Ashley Carey, both 649th Munitions Squadron, assist a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

(Left to right) Airman 1st Class Zack Davis and Senior Airman Ashley Carey, both 649th Munitions Squadron, assist a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Alicia Grant, 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, assists a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Alicia Grant, 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, assists a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Second Lt. James Mottram, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, assists a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Second Lt. James Mottram, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, assists a fifth grade student with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class, Zack Davis, 649th Munitions Squadron, assists fifth grade school children with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class, Zack Davis, 649th Munitions Squadron, assists fifth grade school children with building a simulated space habitat during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class Kenny Dela Cruz, 75th Comptroller Squadron, and fifth grade school children during the building of a simulated space habitat called ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class Kenny Dela Cruz, 75th Comptroller Squadron, and fifth grade school children during the building of a simulated space habitat called ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Fifth grade students inflate simulated space habitats during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Fifth grade students inflate simulated space habitats during ‘Mission to Mars’ at Weber State University May 2, 2019. Mission to Mars is facilitated by Hill Air Force Base as part of the STEM Outreach Program, which partners with local school teachers by providing a curriculum, materials and events to teach STEM-related subjects in a creative and fun environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

OGDEN, Utah -- Hill Air Force Base and Weber State University brought nearly 300 fifth-grade students from local elementary schools to the WSU campus to participate in the annual Mission to Mars link-up day May 2.

Mission to Mars is sponsored by the Hill AFB STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Outreach Program and WSU's College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology.

The event is designed to be a fun and hands-on way to encourage kids to explore STEM fields.

“Mission to Mars is the premier event of the Hill STEM Outreach Program,” said Alison Sturgeon, Hill STEM Program manager. “We love this event for many reasons. Not only is link-up day fun, but students spend time studying Mars in their classrooms and they experience how math, science, writing, creativity and imagination work together to make what seems impossible, possible.”

In the months prior to the event, students studied how to sustain life on Mars, and discussed solutions to the many challenges humans would encounter on the planet.

On link-up day, the students built habitats and presented their life-support system models, team mission patch and uniform, and a creative story or play about their journey to judges.

The habitats were linked to one another via a series of tunnels, hence the “link-up” name.

“It is a pleasure to work with the Hill Air Force Base team and local schools on Mission to Mars,” said Dana Dellinger, Center for Technology Outreach director. “We share the goal of helping kids maximize their STEM education now and go on to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields.”