A simulated lunar landscape will be set up at the NASA center in order to test the international engineering abilities and physical endurance of about four hundred high school and college student from twenty U.S. states, Canada, India, Puerto Rico, and Germany.
They will be racing moonbuggies that they designed and built, which were based on the original design of the lunar rover used on the NASA Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded by NASA and various corporate sponsors.
With twenty tons of gravel and five tons of sand, 175 hay bales, and an assortment of obstacles built with plywood and old tires, NASA hopes to make the landscape at Huntsville appear like lunar craters, ridges, and basins.
The competition is closed for 2008, but the competition in 2009 is just around the corner for fledgling space engineers and designers in the high schools and colleges around the world.
The moonbuggies in competition this year must fit into a space no larger than four feet in width, height, and length when disassembled and folded. The competition begins in this disassembled state. Each student team will carry its moonbuggy to the starting line, assemble it, and then check that all required parts are present, such as batteries, antenna, radio, and TV camera.
One male and one female student will pilot each moonbuggy around the course. They race against time, with one race not to exceed fifteen minutes in duration.
A list of the competitors is found at: Moonbuggy Competitors. Your school could be represented next year, if it isn’t there already.
In 2007, the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York) won the college division, with the University of Puerto Rico (Humacao) finishing second and Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, Kansas) finishing in third place.
Out of 25 high school teams, the Huntsville Center for Technology (Huntsville, Alabama) won the 2007 high school division, with another team from the Huntsville Center for Technology winning second place and the Lafayette County C-1 team (Higginsville, Missouri) finishing in third place.
You could be a part of NASA. And, your school could be a part of the experience of working and living in outer space. Check out the next page for more details and where to find out about more information on NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race and various educational opportunities at NASA.