Alex, Ian, Michelle, Nashir, and Patrick met during NASA's National Community College Aerospace Scholars Program, an educational/professional experience designed to give community college students an opportunity to learn about NASA's historical and emergent technological prowess. They participated in a 5 week online class comprised of readings, multimedia, and quizzes discussing the past and present exploration of Mars (the human exploration of Mars in particular), the international space station, how NASA spacecraft and systems are used to study and protect the Earth, the solar system and beyond, as well as aeronautical engineering. The course culminated in a final project related to NASA's "Journey to Mars". Their final projects were varied; Alex designed a rover, Patrick, Michelle, and Nashir wrote essays discussing and analyzing the Evolvable Mars Campaign, and Ian planned a human mission campaign to Mars. As some of the top students in the online course, they were selected for the onsite experience, where they worked on 10-person teams competing under the direction of NASA Engineers & Scientists using the Mindstorms EV3 to build and program a Mars Rover to run autonomously on a mock Martian landscape.
After being selected for the onsite phase of Micro-G NExT, the original members of Quintessence added Jonathan to their team so that he would be able to travel with them to Houston in order to document their experience testing the CLaMP in Johnson Space Center's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.