On April 26, 2019, Houston Community College’s Division of Natural Sciences in collaboration with the University of Houston’s Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) hosted the “Mars Exploration in the 21 Century: STEM Approach” Symposium. The Symposium was held at Houston Community College’s West Houston Institute (WHI). It included a grand opening of a full-size mock-up of a segment of a Mars Habitat—a place where astronauts might live and work on Mars in the future.
The construction of the Mars habitat’s mock-up was truly a multi-institutional team effort. The Mars Habitat was designed by graduate students from the University of Houston’s Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA). Students from Houston Community College and the University of Houston’s SICSA worked together to build the mock-up of the Mars Habitat’s segment on the third floor of the West Houston Institute (WHI). The University of Houston’s SICSA provided materials for the construction of the mock-up. Spencer Stanford—one of the University of Houston’s space architecture students who designed the Mars Habitat—coordinated the construction of the Mars Habitat mock-up at the West Houston Institute and advised HCC students on the project. Dr. Olga Bannova, a Director of the University of Houston’s SICSA, and Israel Garza, a Manager of the Learning Center Lab at the WHI, actively participated in the project and helped students build the Mars Habitat mock-up as well.