Approximately 100 returning and rookie teams from around the world will compete for a top-three finish at the 19th-annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, April 13-14, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. More than 500 high school, college and university students from 20 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Italy and India, are expected to race their specially crafted lunar rovers or "moonbuggies."
Students begin preparing for the event each year during the fall semester. They must design, build and test a sturdy, collapsible, lightweight vehicle that addresses engineering challenges similar to those resolved and overcome by the original Apollo-era lunar rover development team in the late 1960s at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
"The annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race is a unique and exciting way to get high school and college students involved in hands-on robotic design and operation," said Leland Melvin, NASA associate administrator for education. "They are working on a solution to a real exploration challenge faced by Apollo mission engineers in the 1960s. Today's student designers could be the engineers and robotics experts who will design a rover for future human exploration of Mars."