Press Release

Launching Dreams: Students To Compete in NASA Inspired “Mission to Mars” Space Diary Contest for the Opportunity to Be Published

Top Ten Winners to be announced at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on International STEM Day, November 8. 2024

Top Ten Winners to be announced at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on International STEM Day, November 8. 2024

Huntsville, AL - May 1, 2024 - Athenian, a leading educational organization dedicated to fostering creativity and innovation, is thrilled to announce the “Mission to Mars: Space Diary” Contest. Inspired by NASA’s past Mars explorations, this three-month summer project features conversations with NASA speakers and is a free virtual learning experience designed to ignite creativity and inspire the next generation of explorers.

This innovative contest invites students in grades 6 through 12 from across the USA to embark on an immersive creative writing adventure that results in a published book to be presented at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on International STEM Day, November 8, 2024, by an esteemed member of the NASA Mars Rover project.

The Athenian “Mission to Mars: Space Diary” Contest invites students to embark on a journey of imagination and exploration, envisioning their own “mission” to the Red Planet twenty years from now. Through research, recorded interviews, writing prompts, and monthly Q+A sessions with NASA experts, registered students will have the opportunity to ignite their creativity and invent a compelling vision of the future.

One of the highlights of the project is the opportunity for students to see their work published in a book. The Top 10 entries will be selected and published, with the official book launch taking place at the prestigious San Diego Air & Space Museum on November 8, 2024.

“This opportunity Athenian is providing represents an extraordinary chance for students to explore possibilities and shape the future,” said Loxley Browne. “As we embark on this remarkable journey of imagination and innovation with the Athenian ‘Mission to Mars: Space Diary’ Contest, let us remember the profound power of imagination in shaping our future. Regardless of one’s career path, effective communication lies at the heart of success. By crafting the story of their envisioned future, twenty years from now, these students will not only catapult their careers but eventually create the very reality we seek. Each winning story published in the book will represent an incredible portfolio piece, a testament to the limitless potential of human imagination. The Top 10 chosen story writers will be invited to join us at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on November 8, STEM Day, as we celebrate the published stories and the boundless spirit of innovation.”

Industry experts involved in the project include New York Times Best Seller Garth Stein and renowned rocket engineer Adam Laakmann. Registrants will also have the opportunity to participate in three virtual live Q+A sessions with NASA experts, providing valuable insights and inspiration. Presenting the Top 10 winners at the Press Conference to be held at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on November 8 will be a NASA Mars Rover team member.

The Athenian “Mission to Mars: Space Diary” Contest is open to all students in grades 6 through 12 across the United States of America. Participation is completely free and registration is now open at

Key Dates:
- Registration Opens: May 1, 2024
- Submissions Due: August 17, 2024
- Shortlisted Submissions Announced: October 1, 2024
- Published Top 10 Announced at San Diego Air & Space Museum: November 8, 2024

The mission starts now! Students can register for the Athenian “Mission to Mars: Space Diary” Contest at

For press inquiries, interviews, or additional information, please contact:
Emma Barton
(619) 416-7018

About Athenian is a leading organization in STREAM education, dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. Through immersive programs that span from racecars to rockets, Athenian aims to bridge the gap between various STREAM careers, preparing girls for the challenges and opportunities of the future. With a focus on getting #GirlsinSTEM into the transportation sector, Athenian strives to create a world where female students have access to the opportunity to pursue highly-skilled, high-income career fields.

Athenian is a registered 501(c)3  public charity nonprofit organization #84-2096687.

About NASA
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA's vision is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.

Participants from over 320 community partner sites engage in hands-on activities that highlight current and past NASA missions to expand STEM interest and inspire lifelong learning and human exploration in astrophysics, Earth science, heliophysics and planetary science.


The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum was voted the top Aviation Museum in California and one of the “10 Best Aviation Museum’s Around the U.S.” The Museum also is home to the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with admissions until 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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