University of Puerto Rico at Humacao and Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno, Nevada Win Top Honors at First NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge
NASA declared the winners of the first NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, held April 11-12 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Student racers from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao Team 2 claimed first place in the college division; the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno, Nevada won the top prize in the high school division.
They raced to victory against 70 high school, college and university teams from 19 states, Puerto Rico, Germany, India, Mexico and Russia. All told, more than 500 students -- drivers, engineers and mechanics, plus team advisers and "cheering sections" -- took part in the competition.
The winning teams posted the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their divisions, with the fewest on-course penalties. The team from the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology finished the half-mile course in 3 minutes, 37 seconds. The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao Team 2 finished in 4 minutes, 9 seconds. In addition to the winning trophy, first-place teams received a cash prize of $3,000, courtesy of The Boeing Co. of Huntsville.
Finishing in second place in the high school division was Team 2 from the Vocational High School Teodoro Aguilar Mora in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. In third place was the International Space Education Institute team from Moscow, Russia. Southern Illinois University Carbondale Team 2 won second place in the college division and Team 1 from the school finished in third place.
Organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the NASA Rover Challenge is focused on designing, constructing and testing technologies for mobility devices to perform in different environments, and provides valuable experiences that engage students in the technologies and concepts that will be needed in future exploration missions. Rovers are human-powered and carry two students, one female and one male, over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated extraterrestrial terrain of craters, boulders, ridges, inclines, crevasses and ruts. Each student team of six members is responsible for building their own rover, and the two course drivers must be chosen from the team. As part of the challenge, and before traversing the course, unassembled rover entries must be carried by the drivers to the course starting line with the unassembled components contained in a volume of 5x5x5 feet (dimension requirements). At the starting line, the entries are assembled, readied for racing, and evaluated for safety.The experience is designed to provide the future workforce to realize those new missions, inspiring students to pursue careers in the technical "STEM" fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- so crucial to the agency's endeavors.
The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is sponsored by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, and organized by the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office. Major corporate sponsors for the race are The Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., Aerojet Rocketdyne, Jacobs Engineering ESSSA Group, and Northrop Grumman Corp., all with operations in Huntsville.
For more information about the race, visit: www.nasa.gov/roverchallenge
First place, College Race: University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, Team 2, Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton