“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

Apollo 13 command module pilot John Swigert’s transmission to mission control when one of the spacecraft’s oxygen tanks exploded on 13 April 1970.

In light of the current situation we are all facing and out of respect for the work students’ have put into their Engineering Machine Design projects, the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence will be offering an alternative opportunity, the Online Engineering Machine Design Contest. Teams will be able to submit the following items online and a team of judges will score the submissions.

Submission Items:

  • Electronic Copy of Team Journal
  • Video Recording of Team Presentation
  • Video Recording and Images of Machine Design and Operation


  1. May 1 | Submission Deadline
  2. May 2 – 10 | Judges Review and Score Submissions
  3. May 11 | Placings Announced

The top-scoring teams from the Online Engineering Machine Design Contest will have the opportunity to advance to the Engineering Machine Design Contest Championship in June – date and location to be announced.

This opportunity is open to ANY teams, whether they participated in an in-person contest, a virtual contest, or have not yet competed. As many students are being faced with so many extracurricular and event cancellations, we want students to be able to continue on this Engineering Machine Design journey and work with us to innovatively overcome the issue we face in our increasingly global society. It would be easy for us to cancel this programming and pick up next fall, but are committed to doing what we feel is best for the current situation and future of the students we work with. We are excited to navigate this new online and virtual landscape for the Engineering Machine Design Contest and are eager for you and your students to stay on board!

More information will be posted here as it is made available! Contact Melissa Huppert with questions.

“The probability of success is difficult to estimate; but if we never search the chance of success is zero.”

A quote from Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison’s paper ‘Searching for Interstellar Communications’ that was published in September 1959, one of the first formal rational arguments supporting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.