IET asks kids to design products for life on Mars

A new competition launched this week tasks young people with designing a product that they couldn’t live without on Mars

The IET has launched its Life on Mars competition, tasking six to 13-year-olds with designing a product for life on the red planet.

Life on Mars is part of the larger Engineer a Better World campaign, and is run in partnership with famous children’s cartoon, Beano.

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Entrants should send their design for a product, along with a short explanation of how they would adapt it to work on Mars. The competition is open until July 3 2019.

IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2018, aspiring astronaut Sophie Harker, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for under-13s to experience the creativity that a career in engineering brings. The future of space exploration will require the ingenuity of as many young people as possible with the right skills.”

The future of space exploration will require the ingenuity of as many young people as possible with the right skills.
– Sophie Harker, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2018

The competition winner will be selected by a panel of judges from the IET, Harker, and Beano’s editor. The winner will also have the chance to see their design realised as a 3D prototype and sent to the edge of space on a hydrogen balloon, before returning to earth for them to keep.

On top of this, Beano will also transform the winner into a cartoon character which will feature in the comic.

IET research has found that 61% of 1000 children surveyed are worried about environmental damage to the planet, and that 49% believe humans will have to look to space for somewhere to live in the future. 48% of children think that a human colony on Mars will happen in their lifetime. Space holidays are also on the radar for young people, with 59% believing they will be able to visit space on holiday in the future.

The research also revealed that engineering is now the third most popular profession amongst the children, with 15% claiming it would be their preferred profession. Engineering was narrowly beaten as the top career by YouTuber (18%) and footballer (16%).

For more information about the Life on Mars competition, visit

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