PEORIA — Ready to live on Mars?

Community members will be able to get a glimpse at model habitats for the red planet designed as part of the NASA-sponsored 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, review a variety of other STEM-related displays, meet a central Illinois astronaut and see Caterpillar Inc's Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center.

The free community day from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on May 4 at the Edwards facility, for which a limited number of spaces are still available, is the public portion of a multi-day competition in the habitat challenge hosted by Bradley University and Caterpillar.

Teams from Penn State and the AI SpaceFactory in New York City have made it to the final phase of the habitat competition, and will be constructing one-third scale models of their habitats to be tested for ability to hold an environment, among other requirements.

It's a competition that's been going on since 2015 over multiple phases, winnowing down the number of competitors. The goal is to develop technology that could help with future robotic and human missions to Mars, as well as offer benefits on Earth, like lower-cost housing options.

Community day activities include visitors being able to observe the 3D printing and construction of the habitats in the competition and other STEM demonstrations. A moon rock will be on display, and attendees will be able to remotely operate a Caterpillar bulldozer located near Tucson, Ariz.

NASA astronaut and Pekin native Scott Altman will also be on hand.

Area residents will be able to get "a glimpse of the kind of innovation development that's happening really every day at Caterpillar, at home in central Illinois and around the world," said Eric Reiners, the company's automation and autonomy program manager.

For today's youth, "they need to see things being made. They like to be able to touch and feel and work with their hands. That's how they learn," said Lex Akers, Bradley's dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology.

He said his hope is that students attending the community day — as well as the more than 300 middle school and high school students visiting from more than two dozen area schools on field trips earlier in the week — will be inspired to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Registration can be completed at https://www.bradley.edu/sites/challenge/community.