(Image source from: Latestly)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded three teams from India as part of the United States space agency’s annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge which invites college and high school students to build and test roving vehicles for future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The “AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award” was won by the team from KIET Group of Institutions Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The award recognizes systems best designed to meet the Rover Challenge performance requirements, NASA said in a statement.
The “Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award” was won by the Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering from Mumbai, Maharashtra. The award for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems during the race - as well as the “System Safety Challenge Award”.
The “STEM Engagement Award” was won by the team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab. The award was presented to the team that best informed others about rocketry and other space-related subjects.
About 100 teams participated in the competition, hailing from a record number of countries, including the U.S., Bolivia, Bangladesh, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mexico, Germany, Peru, and Morocco.
The event was attended by Indian American NASA astronaut and two-time spaceflight veteran Sunita Williams. She interacted with teams and took part in the day’s activities.
The International Space Education Institute of Leipzig, Germany, won first place in the high school division with 91 points and a team from University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez won the college/university division with 101 points.
Teams were awarded points based on the successful navigation of obstacles and completion of tasks. The competition, hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, this year marked 25 years since the inaugural event, the statement said.
“We are so proud to congratulate this year’s winners and every team that competed,” said Bob Musgrove, Acting Manager of the Office of STEM Engagement at Marshall.
“The creativity, skill, and resourcefulness demonstrated each year on the rover course are the very traits that paved our path to the Moon in 1969, and the ones that will continue to carry NASA forward to the Moon again in 2024,” said Musgrove.
Rover Challenge provides learning opportunities to students who, someday, may be accountable for planning approaching space missions, as well as crewed missions to other worlds.
After building their own rovers, teams attempt to traverse a nearly three-quarter-mile course with grueling obstacles that simulate terrain found on Mars, as well as other planets, moons, and asteroids throughout the solar system.
Additionally, they have to complete tasks, such as sample collection and instrument deployment. Teams had a six-minute time period to navigate the course, gathering points and trying to complete 14 obstacles.
By Sowmya Sangam