Each year, NASA challenges high schools and colleges across the country and the world to design and build lightweight, human-powered moonbuggies. Innovative students put their own spin on the historic lunar rovers that carried Americans across the surface of the moon during the Apollo era. Builders with "the right stuff" then converge on Huntsville to test their engineering savvy - and their endurance.
Bring duct tape. If it worked for Apollo 17s buggy on the moon, it will work in this contest.
High school teams will compete April 3. College teams will take the course April 4. Prizes are awarded to the three teams in each division that finish with the fastest race times. NASA and industry sponsors present additional awards for innovative buggy design, team spirit, best newcomer and other achievements.
Participation in the race has increased annually from just eight college teams in 1994 to 46 high school and college teams in 2008, with hundreds of students coming from 17 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, India and Germany to participate.
Unless you want to be famous on the internet forever, do not have a buggy-flipping crash like these student drivers from Puerto Rico High School in Fajardo, Puerto Rico early in the day during the high school division of NASA's 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race, held April 4 at the U.S. Space&Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Despite the crash, the two racers jumped back into competition quickly enough to post the fastest race time among competition newcomers, earning them the 2008 "Rookie Award." Credit: NASA/MSFC
Participating institutions may register up to two moonbuggies and teams each year. Registration for the 2009 race closes Feb. 1. For complete rules, moonbuggy design parameters and registration, visit: