Israeli students present innovative projects at Israel Space Olympics

The winning teams presented projects for living on Mars and for exploring ocean-like environments for signs of life.

 Israeli students are seen being awarded top prize at the eighth annual Israel Space Olympics in Jerusalem, on June 14, 2022.  (photo credit: DANA BAR SIMAN TOV)
Israeli students are seen being awarded top prize at the eighth annual Israel Space Olympics in Jerusalem, on June 14, 2022.
(photo credit: DANA BAR SIMAN TOV)

Students from the Pelegim Elementary School of Kibbutz Hazorea and the Yishai Center in Kfar Saba took home first place on Tuesday at the eighth annual Israel Space Olympics, the flagship educational event of the Israel Space Agency and the Science and Technology Ministry.

The event saw hundreds of students from 20 teams compete in a final round at the Israel Center for Excellence through Education in Jerusalem, presenting a number of projects before Israel's second-ever astronaut Eytan Stibbe and NASA astronaut Dr. Kate Robbins.

These finalists emerged from an initial pool of around 100,000 students from 400 schools nationwide who had to compete through five stages of challenges featuring quizzes, puzzles, group activities, model building, planning and presenting a business venture and creating a virtual prototype.

Europa exploration

The Pelegim Elementary School students won the top prize for elementary school students for the Europa Underground Exploration Project. This project's mission seeks to develop communication methods for icy oceans in both deep space and Earth with the ability to try and find signs of life

This is important because it could be used to study ocean-like areas in the solar system, specifically Europa, one of the many moons of Jupiter and one that has long been theorized to be able to host life due to the theorized oceans the moon possesses underneath its surface

 Israeli students are seen presenting their project to NASA astronaut Dr. Kate Robbins at the eighth annual Israel Space Olympics in Jerusalem, on June 14, 2022. (credit: DANA BAR SIMAN TOV) Israeli students are seen presenting their project to NASA astronaut Dr. Kate Robbins at the eighth annual Israel Space Olympics in Jerusalem, on June 14, 2022. (credit: DANA BAR SIMAN TOV)

L.O.M. - Life On Mars

The students from the Yishai Center, who won the top prize for middle schools, presented the L.O.M. — Life On Mars project. This project seeks to provide water, oxygen and electricity for an initial settlement of 1,000 people on Mars with the goal of expanding alongside the population.

The system relies on recycling 90% of supplied water, thawing ice from Mars's North Pole and converting water vapor in the air into water. 

For oxygen, the valuable substance is extracted from the water via electrolysis and from carbon dioxide. 

Electricity would be derived from a few sources. These include solar energy in collaboration with Israel-based energy firm SolarEdge, nuclear reactors and flywheels and fuel cells for nights and periods with prolonged dust storms.

The students were praised by Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen, who noted that these efforts "inspire immense pride in me and in all of us."

The students "inspire immense pride in me and in all of us."

Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen

She added talent, creativity, entrepreneurship and technological innovation have thrust Israel into a prestigious club of superpowers.