Teams from across the United States are approaching their final tuneup phase in preparing for the 7th annual Great Moonbuggy Race, April 7-8 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
More than 40 teams -- the most ever for the event -- from 17 states and Puerto Rico have entered this year’s race.
The competition is inspired by the first lunar roving vehicle, which was designed, developed and tested at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The event challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle so they will learn how to deal with real-world engineering problems -- similar to those faced by the original Marshall Center lunar rover team.
“This is an excellent program for inspiring high school students and students going into engineering fields,” said Art Stephenson, director of the Marshall Center. “It’s really exciting to build something and then actually see it work. And that’s one of the fun things about the space program.”
Teams must confront stringent requirements. For instance, prior to the race, the unassembled vehicle must occupy a space no more than 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 4 feet long. During the race, vehicles powered by two team members, one male and one female, race one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain. Winners in each category – high school and college – are determined by the fastest vehicle assembly time, plus time through the course. An additional prize is awarded to the team with the best technical approach to solving the engineering problem of navigating the “lunar” surface.
The event is sponsored by the Marshall Center, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The high school competition begins at 10:30 a.m. CST Friday, April 7, with design judging. High school teams will begin their timed runs through the course at 12:30 p.m. An awards presentation will follow the race. College division entrants compete Saturday, April 8, with design judging at 7:30 a.m. CST and race times from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 5:30 p.m. The college awards will be presented following the race.
Event details, including rules, a map of the course and photos, can be found at the Great Moonbuggy Race Web site at: http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov
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Note to Editors / News Directors: A complete list of participating high school and college teams is available at the Marshall news web site. Interviews, photos and video are available to media representatives by contacting Jerry Berg of the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. Media who want to cover this year’s event should also contact Jerry Berg.
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