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97-04-21 Great Moon Buggy Race Winners


National Aeronautics and
Space Administration

Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, AL 35812

For Release: April 19, 1997

Jerry Berg 
Office of Media Services 
(205) 651-4712 / 544-0034

RELEASE: 97-053


A team of students from the University of California at Santa Barbara
emerged victorious today in the Fourth Annual Great Moon Buggy Race in
Huntsville, Ala. Their prize is a trip to Kennedy Space Center in Florida
to watch a Space Shuttle launch. 

In the high school division, Monterey High School in Monterey, La.,
finished in first place. The team's prize is a weekend at Space Camp at
the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. 

Teams representing 16 colleges and high schools pitted their engineering
skills against students from across the United States. Each team
designed, built and raced its version of the "moon buggy." The
half-mile-long track at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville
simulated the lunar surface, with "lava ridges," "craters" and sandpits. 

This year's moon buggy race was sponsored by the Marshall Space Flight 
Center in Huntsville -- where the Lunar Roving Vehicle and the Saturn V
that boosted it to the Moon were designed and developed. The moon buggy
helped astronauts explore their landing sites on the Moon during the
Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. 

"It's like an athletic contest in that it combines teamwork and
competition, but the emphasis is on a hands-on engineering experience
for the students," said NASA's Jim Dowdy, moon buggy coordinator at the
Marshall Center. "Regardless of where they placed, competitors in the
race came out of it with a better understanding and appreciation for the
challenges that must be overcome in the space program." 

Each two-member team raced their human-powered buggy, piloted by one
male and one female student. The winning time posted by the University
of California at Santa Barbara team was 6 minutes, 56 seconds. The
winning time for Monterey High School was 10 minutes, 39 seconds. 

In the college division, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the
University of Puerto Rico in Humacao placed second and third,
respectively. A prize was also awarded to the Santa Barbara team, whose
buggy was judged to be the "best" design from an original, creative
concept and offering the best technical solution to navigating on a
planetary surface. In the high school division, the "best" design award
went to Monterey High School. 

The college teams that competed were from: (Some schools sent more
than one team.) 

       Arizona State University (Tempe) 
       Auburn University (Ala.) 
       North Dakota State (Fargo) 
       Ozark Community College (Springfield, Mo.) 
       Pittsburg State University (Kan.) 
       College of New Jersey (Trenton) 
       University of Alabama in Huntsville 
       University of Evansville (Ind.) 
       University of Florida (Gainesville) 
       University of Puerto Rico (Humacao) 
       University of Vermont (Burlington) 
       University of California at Santa Barbara 
       University of Tennessee (Knoxville) 

There were three entries in the high school division: 

       Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.) 
       Monterey High School (La.) 
       Autauga County Vocational Center (Prattville, Ala.) 

Sponsors of the event with Marshall included the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the
Alabama Aerospace Teachers Association. 

- end -

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos from the Fourth Annual Great Moon Buggy Race
are available in TIFF and JPEG formats via computer at the Marshall Newsroom
home page,
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