After reading through 30 excellent entries in our "Ask an Astronaut" writing contest we came to six finalists that really impressed us. Of those six we had a difficult time narrowing it down to only three winners, so... we are happy to announce our FOUR winners and two honorable mentions!
Each of our four winners will have their message included in the game as well as responses from the in-game characters they chose to write to. We settled on these particular entries because each of them presented unique ways for us to respond that will allow for great character building opportunities and entertaining side narratives. Join us in congratulating our winners by reading their entries below, but you will have to wait to hear the characters' responses in the final game! Here they are in no particular order:
Entry by Douglas Bonderud
To: Anton Bolshov
From: Vladimir Bolshov
Subject: была не была
One of your friends came by the farmhouse today. It seems you are finally going. What assurances have they made of your return? The fields you seek could be fallow, or burning. What can you know of where God steps alone?
Your mother worries, wondering if they feed you enough and what you will eat on that forsaken rock. I am held captive by memory; your beardless face gray and pallid as I pulled you from the car, battery long dead in the storm. Three miles from the farm, and nearly lost forever—what happens at three million? Who comes for you then?
I would rather disagree with a son than bury him. Return home, and all is forgiven. Leave, and let come what may.
Entry by Barry Neville
To: Devi Chawla-Stuart
From: Louise Godrey
Subject: UK Female Today Reader Questions
Being an award winning UK women's magazine we have taken a keen interest in both your mission and in particular yourself, the sole UK national and sole female crewmember..
We intend to run an in-depth article hoping to discover more about you, your struggles to balance your UK upbringing with your Indian heritage, the impact your educational and career choices had upon your family and friends and to explore the moment you discovered your hard work and sacrifice had paid off and that you had been chosen to represent the UK and women everywhere on this legendary mission.
In the lead up to this we have recently run a competition giving one lucky reader the chance to ask you 3 hard-hitting questions!
Our randomly chosen winner is Ms Audrey Neville and her questions are:
1. Do you wear special space bras?
2. How excited are you to be cooped up with 4 fit foreign men for so long?
3. How will you maintain your complexion in such a dry place so far away from the sun?
Editor of UK Female Today
Entry by Mark Biswas
To: Hermes Crew
From: Davis Jamies
Dear Hermes crew,
I’m an eighth-grade science teacher. I just wanted to first say thank you. None of you have ever met any of my students, but you have no idea how you motivate them. Just the fact that this mission exists makes science real and exciting to them, in a way that I could never impart. They all have a year-running science project where they track your progress and report on the news, which we do at the end of every week. They always want to talk about it––sometimes making it difficult to transition to other subjects!
I believe science education in the United States and elsewhere is too neglected, and it is important that children are able to be inspired to pursue STEM careers, as each of you were, if we are to solve the coming problems ahead. Unfortunately, we can’t have missions to Mars running all the time to capture students’ imaginations, so I’d like to ask you, what do you think should be done to improve science education and foster science literacy?
Guy B. Phillips Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC
Entry by Joseph Peterson
To: Hermes Crew
From: Samantha Beiswenger
Subject: "Ask an Astronaut" Question
To the Crew of the Hermes:
My name is Samantha Beiswenger from PS37 in Worthington. I am in the 5th grade. Ms. Bittles our principal assigned the entire school this “Ask an Astronaut” task. Lots of people have really good questions, some people have really stupid ones. Since I was sick the day it was assigned, I had a hard time coming up with a question that someone hadn’t already asked. Mr. Marginess is keeping a log so that way we don’t have copies :)
So, because Jane and Kip both wanted to know, and it seems I’m the only one brave enough to ask:
What do you do with all your poop?
Entry by Jon Parsons
Entry by Kevin Heyse
Thank you to all who entered. Keep an eye out for other contests we might open in the future!