Local resident Chris Jellen, who attends Seattle Preparatory School, is among the 160 students who will attend Washington Aerospace  (WAS) summer residency program at the Museum of Flight this summer.

During the residency, students will collaborate to design a human mission to Mars with guidance from professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators.

In addition to the design of the Mars mission, students will compete in hands-on engineering challenges, receive briefings from experts in aerospace and engineering fields and participate in behind-the-scenes tours, including the Boeing Commercial Airplane assembly plant and the engineering laboratories at the University of Washington.

WAS is a competitive educational program designed to connect high school juniors with educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through independent learning, hands-on interaction, professional guidance and site-based tours.

To qualify for the residency program, each student spent five months studying a University of Washington- and NASA-designed online curriculum; they were selected based on their academic performance in these lessons.

Through a special partnership with the University of Washington, WAS students were able to register to earn five college credits based on completion of the WAS curriculum.

WAS is in its eighth year of programming, with nearly 2,000 students having participated in its online curriculum; as of this summer, more than 1,170 students will have participated in the summer residency.