HARLINGEN — If you were interested in pursuing business and engineering to go into business, which should you study first in college?

Adrian Garcia, 16, was addressing three speakers who were talking to local high school students about the Valley becoming a new “Space City.”

The speakers were talking to the students as part of a STARGATE Talk brought to Harlingen by Project Space. STARGATE is a program of UTRGV.

Yesterday’s STARGATE Talk took place at the Harlingen CISD Performing Arts Center, 3217 Wilson Road.

The speakers gave brief talks about space exploration becoming increasingly business oriented rather than pure science. They referred to businesses like SpaceX setting up facilities in the Valley and the fact that South Texas is becoming a “Mecca” for the space industry. Then they responded to students who had plenty of questions.

“Do you feel space should be free to all private businesses?” asked Nia Cerda, 16, a sophomore at Harlingen School of Health Professions.

Sha-Chelle Manning, director of corporate innovations at Pioneer Natural Resources, had earlier spoken about a hotel in space that would cost $791,000 a night. She took Nia’s question first.

“I suspect because space is so large many private businesses will go to the next level,” she told Nia.

In the future, said Frank Sepulveda, senior data scientist analytics at Pioneer Natural Resources, there will have to be a financial venture.

“There has to be a profit for going into space,” he said. “We’re not going just to plant flags. There needs to be some way to make a profit.”

Nia’s question tied in very well to Adrian’s inquiry about business and engineering degrees.

Fredrick Jenet, director of the Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy, had a well-developed answer for Adrian, a sophomore at Harlingen School of Health Professions.

“It’s extremely valuable to have that technical background,” he said. “You have to understand the technology to see if something’s viable. A physics and engineering degree followed by an MBA is very powerful.”

Bertha Garza, president of Project Space, said the event went very well.

“We want to get students to think outside the box and to think about the new Space City,” Garza said. “We want them to think about the new business opportunities.”