Tech

November 7, 2012

Keeping the wheels turning Registration open for 20th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

NASA photograph by Emmett Given
On April 13-14, 2012, more than 80 teams from 20 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Russia and the United Arab Emirates - approximately 600 student drivers, engineers and mechanics, plus team advisers and cheering sections - gathered for the 19th annual Great Moonbuggy Race. The race is held each spring at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Registration is now open for the 20th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, which challenges high school, college and university students around the world to build and race fast, lightweight “moonbuggies” of their own design.

The students’ work will culminate in two days of competitive racing April 26-27, 2013, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA created the event two decades ago to complement classroom learning, provide young thinkers and builders with real-world engineering experience and inspire them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM fields.

“It’s our goal to keep the wheels turning,” said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which organizes the race each year. “The ingenuity and enthusiasm we see among racers begins in the classroom. That first spark of interest – whether it’s in basic chemistry or astronomy or the history of spaceflight – starts the wheels turning. The Great Moonbuggy Race helps sustain that momentum, turning interest into passion, and dreams into a lifelong pursuit of new answers and new horizons.”

International registration for the 2013 race closes Jan. 7. Registration for U.S. teams closes Feb. 4. Participating high schools, colleges and universities each may register up to two teams and two vehicles.

For complete rules and to register, visit http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov.

When Marshall created the race as a regional college challenge during the 1993-1994 school year, only eight teams participated. The high school division was added in 1996, and registration has swelled ever since.

Racers compete to post the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their divisions, while incurring the fewest penalties. Prizes are awarded to the three teams in each division that finish with the lowest final times. NASA and industry sponsors present additional awards for engineering ingenuity, team spirit, best debut by a rookie team and more.

The course, built each spring on the outdoor grounds of the Space and Rocket Center, comprises a winding half-mile of gravel embankments, sand pits and obstacles that mimic the harsh surface of the moon. The race’s creators drew inspiration from conditions faced by the Apollo-era Lunar Roving Vehicles. Three rovers built at Marshall in the late 1960s were used on the moon during the Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions in 1971 and 1972.

Today, the students’ moonbuggies address many of the same design challenges NASA and industry engineers overcame to deliver those historic rovers. The vehicles dramatically expanded astronauts’ reach across the lunar surface and enabled them to conduct much more scientific research during their brief stays on the moon.

In the most recent Great Moonbuggy Race, held in April 2012, more than 70 teams tackled the course. Petra Mercado High School in Humacao, Puerto Rico was first place in the high school division. The University of Alabama in Huntsville won first place in the college division. Petra Mercado, in only its second year in the competition, earned a completion time of 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The winning University of Alabama in Huntsville team finished in 4 minutes and 3 seconds.

To date, more than 5,000 students from around the world have participated in the races. Past winning teams have hailed from Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming – and from Canada and Germany. International racers have come from as far away as India, Italy, Romania, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Racers from Erie High School in Erie, Kansas, have held the record for the best course-completion time since 2008. Their best overall time of 3 minutes and 17 seconds earned the first-place trophy in the high school division that year.

More than 350,000 people watched live and archived coverage of the spring 2012 race on NASA TV and on UStream. For archived footage of the competition, visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA JPL image

NASA analysis: 11 trillion gallons to replenish California drought losses

NASA JPL image NASA satellite data reveal the severity of California’s drought on water resources across the state. This map shows the trend in water storage between September 2011 and September 2014. It will take about 11 tr...
 
 
NASA photograph by George Hale

NASA’s IceBridge Antarctic campaign wraps up

NASA photograph by George Hale A view from an IceBridge survey flight Nov. 3, 2014, showing a cloud’s shadow on crevassed Antarctic ice. NASA’s Operation IceBridge recently completed its 2014 Antarctic campaign, marking the...
 
 

NASA’s 2014 HS3 hurricane mission investigated four tropical cyclones

NASA photograph NASA’s Global Hawk takes off into the sunset after mission wrap-up at NASA Wallops and heads back to NASA Armstrong. NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel, or HS3, mission investigated four tropical cyclones in the 2014 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season: Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard and Gonzalo. The storms affected land areas in the Atlantic...
 

 

NASA tests software that may help increase flight efficiency, decrease aircraft noise

NASA researchers Dec. 12 began flight tests of computer software that shows promise in improving flight efficiency and reducing environmental impacts of aircraft, especially on communities around airports. Known as ASTAR, or Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes, the software is designed to give pilots specific speed information and guidance so that planes can be...
 
 
nasa-app-challenge

Help U.S. cope with climate change: Enter NASA-USGS data app challenge

NASA in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey is offering more than $35,000 in prizes to citizen scientists for ideas that make use of climate data to address vulnerabilities faced by the United States in coping with clim...
 
 
dryden-social3

Event introduces attendees to NASA’s aviation contributions

  NASA is transforming aviation by reducing aircraft environmental impacts, enhancing safety and leading the way in revolutionary new technologies. Those are some of the key ideas from a two-day NASA Aeronautics Research M...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>