Three Indian teams are participating for first time in the NASA annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge to be held from April 17-18 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to be covered live on NASA Television from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT.
The first team from Galgotias University, Gautam Budh Nagar with race order 63, the second team from Mukesh Patel School of Tech (SVKM NMIMS) in Mumbai with a race order of 80 and the third team from Amity University, Jaipur in Rajasthan with race order 93 will participate in the event.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s UStream channel will also broadcast the awards ceremony from 5 p.m. CDT on April 18 in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville.
Besides India, more than 80 high school and college teams from 18 US states, Puerto Rico and international teams from Germany, Mexico and Russia are racing against the clock in this engineering design competition. Indian team’s race order is 63, which may come on the second day of the event.
Rovers will be 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 depressions. 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 a 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 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet. At the starting line, the entries will be assembled, readied for racing, and evaluated for safety. Assembly occurs one time prior to the first course run. One of the interesting terrains on the course is a crater area in which the life-size replica of the LEM is located.
The top three winning teams in each division (one High School Division and one College/University Division) will be those having the shortest total times in assembling their rovers and traversing the course. Each team is permitted two runs of the course, and the shortest course time (plus penalties) will be added to the assembly time for the final total event time.
The Rover Challenge tests students’ ability to design, construct, test and race human-powered rovers through an obstacle course simulating the terrain on other planets, asteroids or moons.
Teams which can finish the three-quarter-mile-long obstacle course in the shortest time will be given prizes and a ceremony on April 18 at 5 PM will present awards for best design, rookie team and other accomplishments at the challenge.
The Rover Challenge signifies NASA’s efforts for deep-space exploration to be taken in 2022 to Mars.
The Rover Challenge is based on addressing challenges faced by human and rover missions such as the Lunar Roving Vehicles of the Apollo moon missions. The competition entails participating students to solve obstacles with their engineering talent and also aims to inspire new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers, said NASA in a statement.