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For release: 04/13/02
Release #: 02-089

New York team triumphs in college division of NASA’s 9th annual 'Great Moonbuggy Race'

Photo description: A "moonbuggy" from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., wins the college division of the 9th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race.

A team from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., rode to victory today in the college division of NASA’s 9th annual Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Ala. The Cornell #1 team topped 33 college and university teams from 18 states, Puerto Rico and Colombia. In addition to the first place honor, the team earned a trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to view a Space Shuttle launch.

Photo: A "moonbuggy" from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., wins the college division of the 9th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race. (NASA/ MSFC)

The Cornell # 2 team finished second, while the University of New Orleans placed third. Those teams received plaques, and all three winning teams received medallions and duffel bags bearing the Great Moonbuggy Race logo.

The award for best moonbuggy design went to the College of New Jersey in Ewing. A special “pits award” for ingenuity and persistence was won by the team from University of Puerto Rico in Humacao.

Vehicles powered by two team members, one male and one female, raced one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain.

The competition is inspired by the actual lunar roving vehicle project, which was successfully accomplished by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville during the 1960s and 1970s. The race challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle so they will learn how to deal with real-world engineering problems — similar to those faced by the actual NASA lunar rover team.

The Marshall Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Aerospace Development Center of Alabama, Sci-Quest North Alabama Science Center and Huntsville’s WAFF-TV sponsored the event.

College teams also included Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of South Alabama in Mobile; University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa; Arizona State University in Tempe; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.; Georgia Southern University in Statesboro; Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; University of Evansville in Indiana; Purdue University in Indianapolis, Ind.; Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan.; Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights; Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo.; Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; North Dakota State University in Fargo; Cameron University in Lawton, Okla.; South Carolina State University in Orangeburg; Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville; University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Christian Brothers University in Memphis.

Also, Universidad Autonoma De Manizales, in Caldas, Colombia, participated as an exhibition team. Members design and build a moonbuggy for exhibition purposes, but don’t race it competitively. In some cases they learn more about the experience before competing in a subsequent year.

The high school division race held Friday, featured 27 teams. Team #1 from Lafayette County High School in Higginsville, Mo., captured first place honors. New Orleans Area Schools team #2 from New Orleans, La., took second while team # 2 from Lafayette County High School in Higginsville, Mo., placed third. The award for best moonbuggy design for a high school went to the New Orleans Area Schools team #2.

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