For release: 03/07/02
Release #: 02-047
Area students work on human-powered machines for competition:
NASA’s 9th Great Moonbuggy Race has record number of entries; 77 teams to compete in April
Seventy-seven teams from high schools and colleges will compete in the 9th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race April 12-13 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. It's the biggest field ever for the challenging event. Teams will race over the lunar-like terrain of the half-mile course with their human-powered "moonbuggies". They will also compete for best technical approach to solving engineering problems.
Photo: The Pittsburg, Kan., State University team wins the college division at last year's Great Moonbuggy Race. (NASA/MSFC)
Students from across the United States and as far away as Puerto Rico and South America will come to Huntsville, Ala., for the 9th annual Great Moonbuggy Race at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, April 12-13.
Seventy-seven teams — representing high schools and colleges from 21 states, Puerto Rico and Colombia — will race human powered vehicles over a lunar-like terrain. But the competition requires more than physical endurance because students must use a wide range of skills as a team to design, engineer and build their vehicle.
The Great Moonbuggy Race is inspired by development some 30 years ago of the lunar roving vehicle (LRV), a program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The LRV team had to design a compact, lightweight “all-terrain vehicle” that could be transported to the Moon in the small Apollo spacecraft. The Great Moonbuggy race challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle and in the process overcome engineering problems similar to those faced by the original Marshall Center lunar rover team.
For instance, the students must design a vehicle that occupies a space no more than 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet before it is assembled prior to the race. During the race, two team members — one male and one female — power and drive each vehicle 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.
“This is the greatest participation we’ve ever had for the races,” said Jim Pruitt manager of the education programs department at the Marshall Center. “We have teams that have participated for several years and we have new teams that will be here for the first time. We expect to see some innovative designs and fantastic competition.”
The annual event is sponsored by several Huntsville organizations: the Marshall Center, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alabama-Mississippi Section, the Aerospace Development Center of Alabama, Sci-Quest North Alabama Science Center and television station WAFF.
Event details, a full listing of the competing teams, race rules, information on the course and photos from previous competitions can be found at the Great Moonbuggy Race Web site at:
Click here to see a map of the Moonbuggy teams locations.
Note to Editors: You have received this news release because a high school, technical school, college or university from your area has registered to compete in the 9th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race. In some instances there may be multiple entries from your area. To get the name of the contact at your area school for pre-race coverage, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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