• 4-H members, from left, Avery Inman of Manhattan and Zach and Max May of El Dorado follow GPS directions to an activity with adult leader David May during the Kansas 4-H Space Exploration and Mars Habitat Experience on Saturday at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.

  • 4-H member Zach May of El Dorado explains why he thinks one type of vegetable would be a better choice to grow in a hydroponic garden than another Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, during the Kansas 4-H Space Exploration and Mars Habitat Experience at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.

4-H'ers practice for mission to Mars at Cosmosphere

Saturday, October 1, 2016

After following GPS directions to the site of their next activity, a group of 4-H'ers pondered what vegetables might be good choices to grow in a hydroponic garden on Mars.

Given a number of options, Zach May of El Dorado suggested spinach, because it grows well in hydroponic situations and is nutritious. Avery Inman of Manhattan then recommended green beans. The facilitator agreed green beans are suitable for hydroponics and they would have the advantage of growing quickly.

That botany group was one of several that split from the larger Kansas 4-H Space Exploration and Mars Habitat Experience group Saturday for activities looking at different aspects of what would be involved with a manned mission to Mars.

Kids from across Kansas attended the event Friday and Saturday, which included activities related to robotics, GPS, solar cells, engineering a Mars lander and hydroponic farming, as well as a tour of the Hall of Space Museum and a movie about space exploration.

"It's been fantastic," said David May of El Dorado, who attended with his sons Max and Zach.

He said he liked the hands-on activities for the 4-H'ers.