Student Teams Ready to Battle Lunar Terrain at NASA's 17th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

Mar 05, 2010

More than 100 student teams from around the globe will drive their specially crafted lunar rovers through a challenging course of rugged, moon-like terrain at NASA's 17th annual Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Ala., April 9-10.

Some 1,088 high school, college and university students from 20 states and Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, Bangladesh, Serbia, India and Romania are expected to participate in the race at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Students begin to prepare for the event each year during the fall semester. They must design, build and test a sturdy, collapsible, lightweight vehicle that addresses engineering problems similar to those overcome by the original Apollo-era lunar rover development team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in the late 1960s.

The buggies are based on the design of those classic rovers, which American astronauts drove across the moon's surface during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions in the early 1970s. Teams of students build their vehicles using trail bike tires, aluminum or composite-metal struts and parts. The best teams drive trains, gears, suspension, steering and braking systems they find or construct.

Top prizes are awarded to the three teams in both the high school and college/university divisions that post the fastest race times, which include assembly and penalty times.

A variety of other prizes are given by race corporate sponsors. These include "rookie of the year" and the "featherweight" award, presented to the team with the lightest, fastest buggy.

NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race is one of many educational projects and initiatives the agency conducts each year to attract and engage America's next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers. They will carry on the nation's mission of exploration to unchartered destinations in our solar system.

" is committed to inspiring young people in science, technology, engineering and math, and the Great Moonbuggy Race is an excellent way for us to reach out to young people and get them excited and involved in technical opportunities available to them," said Mike Selby, an avionics technical assistant in the Marshall Center's Engineering Directorate. While completing his engineering degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Selby was a member of the school's moonbuggy teams, helping them to a second-place finish in 1995 and to first place in 1996. Since 2001, he has served each year as a volunteer scorekeeper.

Explore further: Bright points in Sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior

More information: For more information about the competition, visit: moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA plans 'moonbuggy' design competition

Dec 16, 2006

NASA officials in Alabama are calling on the next generation of space explorers to design and race their lunar rovers in NASA's 14th "Great Moonbuggy Race."

NASA looking for fastest moon wheels

Jan 15, 2008

The U.S. space agency has set April 4-5 as the dates for its 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race for high school and college teams.

NASA prepares for Moonbuggy Race

Mar 14, 2008

The U.S. space agency is transforming part of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center into a lunar landscape for the 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race.

The 2008 Great Moonbuggy Race

Apr 08, 2008

Not one of the participants in NASA's 2008 Great Moonbuggy Race was old enough to have seen the 1969 movie, Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies. Nevertheless, the racers all looked like stars of ...

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

17 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

17 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

18 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Apr 16, 2014

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.