Teen Designs Space City of the Future

Given the presence and impact of the space colony Eurasia in multiple Mega Man games, I felt this might be of some interest to our readers. 17-year old Eric Yam of Toronto, Ontario recently won a NASA grand prize for designing Asten, "a democratic colony far above Earth that looks like a giant cylinder, has no violence and whose residents eat meat grown in a lab."

“I designed it to be close to the Canadian society that I live in,” says Yam, a student at Northern Secondary School who is in Grade 12.

"Education would include courses on good citizenship, settlers would be pre-screened for a propensity for violence and everybody would have access to free, efficient health care," writes Metro News.

Yam won by beating out over 300 entries from almost 900 students around the world, and tied with a team from Orissa, India.

Gillian Evans, a math and physics teacher who was a staff adviser for the project, says “He basically built a utopia from scratch,” adding that “He had to design something that would orbit the Earth successfully."

Evans also noted that “He had to explain how to build it cheaply, finance it, keep it running, how to feed people, keep their air clean, how it would govern and police itself, and what’s the social structure.”

Engineers and scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration judged the contest, which called for students from grades 6-12 to design a space colony which would orbit the Earth 50 years from now.

Yam believes that there were four main aspects which might have caught the judges' eyes:

Modularity: Yam designed modular components, such as apartment units and distinct common corridors, that could be updated or replaced by other types of units altogether.

Mass production: “If you can mass-produce certain sections, you can save money, time and you can cut down on errors,” he said.

Use of existing technology: “He didn’t go too far in making up stuff,” Evans said. “He didn’t say, ‘Maybe this will be feasible in 50 years so we’ll pretend it will be.”

Social systems: After designing the technology, Yam proceeded to lay out a social structure that calls for a democratically elected president and a council of 20 experts in five fields, including environmental sustainability.

Asten was designed to be self-sustaining for 10,000 residents, as well as up to 300 visitors at a time, including tourists who would help generate revenue.

Source: Metro News Toronto