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Cost

One team registration costs $405 plus shipping. Each kit comes with a 5 kg bag of lunar or Martian simulant, pH strips, and a flyer to help you get started. With your purchase and registration, you will also gain access to the digital Project Guide which provides in-depth guidance on each phase and task of the competition. Registration also includes review of winning teams' projects by our Science Advisory Board for consideration in the Best in Show awards. Supplemental materials will be needed to conduct your experiment such as pots, seeds, and soil amendments. The additional materials that you will need to purchase will vary based on the parameters of your experimental design.
This depends on your growth setup. At minimum, you will need containers (pots or even cups) and supplemental soil or fertilizer. However, some teams choose to use a grow light, aquaponics systems, or other additional materials that have an added cost.
Unfortunately, no. However, we have had teams in the past successfully reach out to local companies for financial support and we encourage you to do so.

Shipping

Simulant packs will be shipped out the week after regular registration closes. Shipments will NOT occur on a rolling basis (except for international shipments), so if you purchase early on in the registration period, do not expect the package until after registration closes. For the timing of international shipping, please see the question below.
It is the responsibility of each team leader to provide an address where packages can be received. Packages are sent via USPS, which does deliver on Saturdays. We highly recommend having the package shipped to your residence rather than a school building. If you need to change the address provided, please email ptmc@competitionsciences.org with the updated address. Any re-shipments will only be sent out upon receipt of payment by the customer for the second shipping fee.
It is the responsibility of each team leader to provide an address where packages can be received. International registration closes early to ensure that international shipments have time to arrive before the start of the Challenge. That being said, it is your responsibility to ensure that customs in your country does not prohibit the entry of soil. International shipments occur on a rolling basis.

Refunds

We cannot provide refunds on orders that have already been shipped. However, you can postpone your participation in the Challenge to a future season if you purchased your own registration. Grant funded teams may not defer their participation to a future season.
If you purchased your own registration, yes. Please email ptmc@competitionsciences.org noting that you would like to participate in the upcoming season with the unused simulant. Note that grant funded teams may not defer their participation to a future season.
In some situations, yes, but we ask that you do NOT place an order until you hear back about Space Grant funding. Please check your confirmation email for the date in which you will hear back about funding. You will have between 1-2 weeks to decide if you would like to purchase the simulant yourself after hearing back from the Space Grant. Note that our refund policy indicates that we will not provide refunds once shipping has occurred.

Participation

Absolutely! There are no location restrictions on participating in the Plant the Moon Challenge. However, please read the FAQ section labeled “Shipping” to understand international shipping requirements.
Yes, we have had teachers in the past successfully implement the Plant the Moon Challenge in a virtual setting. It is a great substitute for hands-on learning!
There is no minimum or maximum number of team members required to participate. We have had successful teams ranging from one person to an entire classroom. However, each simulant pack provides for around 10 plants, so we recommend a limit of 10 people per team.
There is no minimum or maximum age to participate, however, we recommend children be of school age. Submissions are scored based on five age groups - Elementary, Middle School, High School, Undergraduate, and Professional. Additionally, all students under age 18 must have an adult act as their coach. Active participation and/or knowledge of science from the coach is not necessary.
Yes. We only ask that teams choose to categorize themselves based on the average level of their team members when submitting final reports.
Absolutely! We welcome all groups - classrooms, clubs, homeschool groups, families.
Embarking on the Plant the Moon Challenge is a rewarding and exciting undertaking. Through the Pre-Season Planning, Grow Period, and Report Period of the challenge, the Team Coach will have different roles and responsibilities. You can expect to commit 12-24 hours to the challenge across the season. The total time you will commit depends on the level of involvement that you wish to have throughout the project.
At the core of this challenge is the scientific method and design process. These steps can be summarized into the four parts of conducting a PTMC experiment: Research, Design, Plant & Monitor, and Analyze & Present. Within each phase, you will encounter check point tasks that will step you through the process of completing your experiment. These will be supplemented with live events from which you can gain additional support and networking opportunities. Teams will design their own experiments, plant, monitor their crops, and turn in 7 tasks over the course of the season, including a Final Report. Please see the "Timeline" tab for more details.

Space Grant Funding

Unfortunately, no. This includes if you live near the border of a participating Space Grant state. We are constantly working to expand our connections with other states, though! Please check back in future seasons for any additions to our list of Space Grant partners.
Please check your confirmation email for the date in which you will hear back about funding. This date tends to be 1-2 weeks after Space Grant applications close, excluding the winter holiday season.
You must register the same number of teams as simulant packs received. However, there is no limit to the size of your team (i.e. entire classroom).
Please check your acceptance email to see how many simulant packs you were awarded. This may be less than the number of packs you requested.
Yes, we would still love to have you! After hearing back from the Space Grant, there will be between 1-2 weeks before registration closes to decide if you would like to purchase the simulant yourself.
No, the project you indicated on your application determines which type of soil simulant will be sent to you. No changes can be made after submission of the application.
Yes. However, it is up to each individual Space Grant Consortium whether or not they will sponsor the same team twice.
Yes. To protect the investment of the Space Grant Consortium, grant funded teams are not eligible for deferral. If you are no longer able to participate after signing the Commitment Form and receiving your kit, you must fund the return shipment of the unopened simulant to be relieved of the terms in the Commitment Form.

Experiments

One simulant pack is enough for approximately 10 small pots of individual plants, depending on the additives you add to your simulant.
The goal of the Plant the Moon and Plant Mars challenges is to grow plants that astronauts could eat in space, but beyond that we don't have seed restrictions (no controlled substances permitted). Upon registration, you will receive a Project Guide that includes a list of suggestions, but it is not comprehensive. Please note that although we recommend using edible plants, we strongly advise against consuming the plants you grow.
Yes, teams will follow the guidelines in the Project Guide (available upon registration) to design their experiments. The variables you study are determined by the team. Teams may choose to examine any parameters relevant to crop growth, such as the structure of your plant growth setup, the amount and timing of water used, the type/amount of nutrients or fertilizer added to the simulant to help support plant growth, and the types of crops grown.
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Choose Your Mission

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Launch Pad Complex: Successful Rocket Launching with Crew on a Space Exploration Mission. Flying Spaceship Blasts Flames and Smoke on a Take-Off. Humanity in Space, Conquering Universe
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Help NASA and Humanity

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Help NASA and Humanity

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