Teams compete in NASA moonbuggy race

More than 100 student teams from around the globe will this weekend take part in NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race.

Unfortunately, NASA can’t afford to ship them all off to the moon itself, so instead they’ll be in the just slightly more accessible location of Huntsville, Alabama.

Participating teams include students from Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, Bangladesh, Serbia, India and Romania.

Students must design, build and test a sturdy, collapsible, lightweight vehicle that can perform the same feats as the original Apollo-era lunar rover from the late 1960s.

They build their vehicles using trail bike tires, aluminum or composite-metal struts and parts.

Top prizes are awarded to the three teams in both the high school and college/university divisions that post the fastest race times, which include assembly and penalty times.

Other prizes are given by sponsors, including “rookie of the year” and the “featherweight” award, presented to the team with the lightest, fastest buggy.

“NASA is committed to inspiring young people in science, technology, engineering and math, and the Great Moonbuggy Race is an excellent way for us to reach out to young people and get them excited and involved in technical opportunities available to them,” said Mike Selby, an avionics technical assistant in the Marshall Center’s Engineering Directorate.