But the Roncalli and Ball State alumnus didn’t envision that his entry into a competition to design a city on Mars would land him among the top designers and scientists in the country. Or present the opportunity to meet Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
Jennings’ proposed Mars-based research colony is putting him and the Mars City Design competition on the intergalactic map. His research colony placed ninth overall in the competition and third in the architectural category. His work recently appeared on “Fortune” magazine website and in space journalist’s Leonard David’s blog.
A campaign to raise $30,000 to allow the competition’s 10 finalists to attend a two-week workshop in Los Angeles in September gives prominence to Jennings’ designs.
“It seems like every week something more exciting happens,” he said. “This competition combines my two passions – architecture and space exploration – in ways that I could never even dream of months ago when this all started.”
His project began as a way to test sustainability on Mars. “The most important factors in self-sufficient design on Mars is being able to create oxygen, produce food, filter water and provide structure,” he said.
Known as the “Mars Guy” among co-workers, Jennings is understandably pumped about all of it, especially the chance to meet Aldrin. “If I get to shake the hand of someone who has walked on the moon, that will be one of the biggest highlights of my life.”