Topic outline

  • General

  • Introduction

    • Are you ready for the next great adventure?  

    • We want you to explore and share your passion about the long duration space flight and the challenges it poses with us! Imagine yourself traveling for several months. 

    • What challenges can you encounter and how would you solve them? 

    • Even though the topic of the contest is “DOES A KETOGENIC DIET SUPPORT LONG DURATION SPACE FLIGHT?”, we encourage you to think outside the box and make possible this incredible journey on to the distant planets!
  • Prizes


    The total prize money in scholarships that will be applied to the MAU participation fee to join a mission is $10,000 scholarships for all teams and individuals.

    Individual: $2000 total

    The grand prize is a $1000 scholarship and $500 each for two runners up

    Teams of 3-4 $4000 total

    The grand prize is $2000 scholarship for a 3-4 member team and $1000 scholarship for each of two runners up teams

    Teams of 5 or more $4000 total

    The grand prize is $2000 scholarship for a 5 member team and $1000 scholarship for each of two runners up teams

    • About

      Do you support the use of a ketogenic diet for a model mission to Mars?

       If so, describe the body of evidence to support your conclusion. If not, then propose an alternative that addresses the known health issues associated with long duration human spaceflight.

      Profesor Thomas N. SeyfriedAs a place to start with your evidence search, look at the work of Prof. Thomas N. Seyfried who, contrary to the conventional model of carcinogenesis, has demonstrated that cancer initiates in abnormally functioning mitochondria. The genetic damage commonly found in the nuclei of cancer cells is secondary to the mitochondrial dysfunction, and is not due to external factors like ionizing radiation that directly damages genetic material.

      The substance of the challenge to you is this: If the radiation commonly found in outer space, . principally the galactic cosmic radiation (GCR), is only a “phantom menace”, as this cancer research tends to show, What do we need to be concerned about and how should we prepare for it?   You are directed to look at the new NASA program centered at Baylor Medical School defining the “red risks” of spaceflight where there is an appeal to address these issues. The winning entries will be announced at next year's National Space Society's International Space Development Conference ( ISDC)  June 6-9, 2019

    • Contest Rules


      This is a detailed list of the requirements and rules. At the bottom of the page, you will find a summary list of these requirements and rules along with an attestation line that you should download, sign, and submit to complete your entry to the Contest. 



      All entries should be informative and should include factual information about peer review and/or clinical practice. YouTube videos may be referred, listing URL, videographer or creator and upload date. An appendix should be included with short thumbnail sketches of the clinical or doctor source with credentials or rationale for inclusion. Some advanced self-practitioners or frequent YouTube posters who are not otherwise medical, nutritional or chiropractic in origin may be appropriate, if you evaluate their material to be well-informed, corroborated, and use language that is not offensive "to your grandparents." Selection of references is subject to the judging guidelines.


      Paper no less than 3 pages, no more than 15 pages. Formatting guidelines: Arial 12 pt. font, double-spaced.

      Paper allows for graphics, artwork, engineering sketches, etc. These should be included in the appendix, separate from the main body. Graphic image pages are not included in the text page count. Appendix is limited to 10 pages, including references. References should include a minimum of five peer-reviewed or clinical practice references not from YouTube. PubMed, FASEB, and NCBI are examples of good, top level sources that are of professional quality.

      All submitted entries MUST BE THE ORIGINAL WORK of the person submitting the entry. Short quotes are acceptable, limited to one sentence at a time.

      All submissions must be made in a digital format and will only be accepted via the Online Challenge Contest Submission Form.

      Nutrition: Describe the diet you are advocating, for duration of 7 to 28 days (any number of meals per day, 0-5 meals a day, and may allow intermittent fasting and/or 24-hour fasting period). Justify your diet using the referenced materials plus your evaluation of the variants and why you are advocating a particular diet. If some of your diet components are variable, please state what may be varied. Please address macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, electrolytes, minerals, volume and source water. In spaceflight, you may expect that much of the water will be recycled, and supplements supporting those components, if you support them a necessary.  Please state briefly how you plan to exclude toxins and harmful components, even if present in commonplace diets and standard eating practices in the US or your country. Please follow the guidelines and resources. The organizing committee recognizes that diet is only one component of a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate sleep, exercise, and stress management/spiritual maintenance and growth. Please don't refer to these other factors!



      • Announcement date: February 22, 2019
      • Submission deadline: April 7th, 2019, at 23:59 PST
      • Winners will be announced:  April 30th, 2019
      • Note:  A screening process will be in place and the review committee reserves the right to reject any submission without showing cause.



      Nutrition Design for Long Duration Space flight (University level)

      Team requirements to be declared in your application:

      1. Individual
      2. 2-5 people per team
      3. 5 people and greater

      All full-time students at a college or university are eligible.

      All entries must be the original work of the student entrant or entrants.


      Participants can join only one team.

      Teams must be formed at the time of entry. Present the names and signature of participants indicating the agreement of each team member to the guidelines and rules. Mentors and/or teachers who advise the entrants should also be listed on the application.

      Cash prizes will be awarded at the team level. Team prizes will be distributed be distributed at the team's discretion, preferably by prior agreement among all team members.

      Participants can have only one entry (individual or team member)

      The leader selected by the team or the individual entrant is appointed to complete the online entry application in full.




    • Diet Guidelines for Secondary Level Contest

    • Project Resources

      “Keto” is currently a hot topic both in the clinical research community and in social media. We must “strike while the iron is hot” to fold this interest into preparation for long-duration spaceflight.  The spaceflight application of the Diet is NOT being  discussed YET, let alone the epigenetic research for radioresistance being done at Harvard and Johns Hopkins.   Following are a few  YouTube links  by responsible medical researchers, doctors and nutritionists in clinical practice that are shaping the Debate. They vary in length from short to long. I have selected these few for you that represent the broad discussion and debate in progress: Some references:


      1. "High Carb to Low Carb to Keto to Carnivore | Dr. Ken Berry.”  . A higher protein proportion in the Diet may be appropriate for some.
      2. "Dr. Stephen Phinney - 'Troubleshooting the Ketogenic Diet for Optimal Weight and Health.” . Clinical research studies that incudes a discussion of how mineral intake (sodium, potassium, magnesium) should be adjusted,
      3. "When Keto Stalls & Fat Loss Slows, Tips to Course Correct"..

               You may be familiar with the popular work of trainer/nutritionist Jillian Michaels. She is a big (but slim) advocate of restricting calories (CR)  and increasing exercise. She has been widely viewed on “The Biggest Loser.” But she questions the need for or value of Keto. Here are videos addressing the debate she has created:  "Is Jillian Michaels Right about the Keto Diet? (Is Keto Dangerous?)"



      Also, this website is a good Ketogenic Diet Resource: Lists a variety of proven health and therapeutic benefits.

    • Terms and Conditions


      By clicking the "Submit" button on our Submit page and submitting your entry to the “IS A KETOGENIC DIET APPROPRIATE FOR LONG DURATION SPACEFLIGHT?”, you hereby grant the National Space Society, SpacEdge Education, and its Chapters a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free, perpetual license to:

      Reproduce said entry and associated textual description (in whole or in part) in print, electronic, and other media to promote the goals of the National Space Society and the SpacEdge Education program.

      Modify and/or crop for sizing, transmission, or distribution of your submission without prior or additional consent.

      Use the entrants name, likeness and biographical information in connection with the entry being submitted.

      You also agree that without prior or additional consent:

      Winning and submitted images, graphics, and text may appear in NSS or SpacEdge publications or promotional items.

      Submitted images, graphics, and text may be displayed on the NSS/SpacEdge web sites and other social media venues.

      Submitted images, graphics, and text may be used in articles associated with SpacEdge, in the society's magazine, and in other membership publications.

      Submitted images, graphics, and text may be used elsewhere in association with reporting of the SpacEdge Education program or publicity for or about the SpacEdge Education program.

      SpacEdge may also use the submitted entries in other promotional and advertising material in support of its non-profit objective of creating a space-faring civilization. Such use includes the NSS and SpacEdge websites, the NSS magazine Ad Astra, and possible brochures and other promotional materials.

      The National Space Society's SpacEdge Education program stipulates that: 

      SpacEdge Education retains copyright. 

      You also agree that:

      The “IS A KETOGENIC DIET APPROPRIATE FOR LONG DURATION SPACEFLIGHT?” team reserves the right to reject any submission without showing cause.

      Prizes will only be awarded at the Grand and First Prize levels if qualified entries are judged as meeting the standards for submissions and artwork of that award level. It may be that the quality of submission received in any given year does not meet Judging Guidelines for a particular award level and as such, no prize in that category would be awarded that year. 

      If a co-sponsor that offers a prize in the contest, the National Space Society and SpacEdge Education will not be held liable if that co-sponsor fails to deliver that prize.

      Future publication of any NSS or SpacEdge materials is uncertain and NSS/SpacEdge will not be held liable if such publication does not occur.


      SpacEdge Education reserves the right to extend the contest submission deadline.

      This Agreement may not be amended except by written agreement between the parties.

      Further, you also warrant that:

      The entry being submitted is the original work, art, and text created in whole and part by you and does not violate any copyrights.

      The entry being submitted is not subject to any third party intellectual property rights.

      If an entry is one of the winners of the contest and the medium used to create the artwork was not electronic, the entrant may be required to send the original piece to SpacEdge for public display. Exceptions will be granted if this poses a hardship.

      A screening process will be in place and the review committee reserves the right to reject any submission without showing cause.

      At the time of submission into this contest, the parents/guardian of students under the age of 18: 

      (1) have read these terms and conditions; 

      (2) give their permission to the person entering this contest that they can enter the contest; 

      (3) give approval to all terms and conditions stated above and will further provide in writing a statement of such approval and permission if requested by NSS or SpacEdge at a future date. 

      [Note to teachers: You must have signed permissions from parents/guardians of entrants under the age of 18 if you are sponsoring the student entry. Do not send NSS or SpacEdge these permissions unless NSS/SpacEdge requests them.]


      If you have any QUESTIONS regarding the contest, please email CONTEST TEAM at:  EMAIL ADDRESS


      Thank you for your interest in submitting an entry to the “IS A KETOGENIC DIET APPROPRIATE FOR LONG DURATION SPACEFLIGHT?”!

    • Submit your entry to the contest

      After you have read, signed, and uploaded the Contest Paper Requirement,

      When you are ready, please upload your contest paper in the Journal link provided below.