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For Release: April 18, 1998

Jerry Berg
Media Relations Office
(256) 544-0034
jerry.berg@msfc.nasa.gov

RELEASE: 98-049


Monterey High School Celebrates Victory
Following 5th Annual Great Moon Buggy Race

A team of students representing Monterey High School, in Monterey, La., rolled to victory today in the high school division of the 5th Annual "Great Moon Buggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala. Team members won a weekend at U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville.

In the college competition, the race outcome was too close to immediately call, with declaration of the winner awaiting review of a penalty assessment.

Teams representing 11 colleges and high schools from across the United States competed in the event, racing their versions of a "moon buggy" over a half-mile course of simulated lunar terrain at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. The creative inventions were modeled after the NASA Lunar Roving Vehicle that was used by astronauts to travel the Moon's surface.

The race was sponsored by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville -- where the Lunar Roving Vehicle was designed and developed. Other sponsors were the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; the Alabama Aerospace Teachers Association, sponsor of the Space Camp prize; and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

"The Moon Buggy Race is a challenging, hands-on experience for students that combines creative engineering, teamwork and the spirit of competition," said race coordinator Dr. Jim Dowdy, university relations officer at Marshall. "And it's a learning experience. Regardless of how well a team performed, all the participants learn about resolving engineering problems and about the engineering challenges of the space program."

Rain showers throughout the day failed to dampen spirits or slow competitors. Each human-powered moon buggy was piloted by one male and one female student. The winning time posted by Monterey High School was 8 minutes, 10 seconds.

"To resolve the college winner we are going to check one observation by contacting a course judge and, if necessary, reviewing video tape of the run in question," said Dowdy. The first place team will win a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to view a Space Shuttle launch.

College teams competing in the race were the College of New Jersey, Ewing; the University of Evansville, Evansville, Ind.; Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan.; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Arizona State University, Tempe; Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao; and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

High school teams were Eastlake High School, Chula Vista, Calif.; Autauga County Vocational Center, Prattville, Ala.; and Monterey High School, Monterey, La.

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