Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville
Student racers from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind., speed to victory in the college division of NASA's 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Student innovators from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind., sped past 23 teams from around the globe to win the college division of NASA's 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race today at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.
The Evansville team posted the day's fastest race time, completing the harrowing course -- which simulates surface conditions found on the moon -- in just 4 minutes and 25 seconds.
Finishing in the top three along with Evansville were second-place winners from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and third-place racers representing Canada's Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.
NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race is inspired by the original lunar rover designed by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. A hardy, lightweight exploration vehicle, the first rover trundled across the moon's surface during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, and continued to chart new lunar territory during two subsequent Apollo lunar missions.
Student racers faced challenges similar to those overcome by Apollo-era rover engineers. Last October, the student teams began designing their own buggies, capable of withstanding the challenges of the course: craters, gullies and ridges made of plywood and tires and covered with a realistic layer of gravel and sand.
The Marshall Center presented the first-place team with a trophy depicting NASA's original lunar rover, and gave plaques and certificates to the two runners-up. The first-place team also received $5,700 in cash from Northrop Grumman Corp. Individuals on all three winning teams received commemorative medals and other prizes.
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