NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge will take place at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, April 8-9. Your family can watch Competing teams from high schools, colleges and universities around the world are required to design, construct and race human-powered rovers across a space-themed obstacle course, vying for prizes and awards in various divisions.
Nearly 80 teams from the United States, Italy, Germany, India, Mexico, Columbia and Russia, as well as Puerto Rico, will maneuver rovers through the three-quarter-mile-long course designed to simulate terrain found on distant planets, asteroids or moons. The course is built in, on and around the full-scale rocket and space vehicle exhibits on display at the Space & Rocket Center – the official visitor center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
What’s New This Year?
This year’s event incorporates two new and important changes. Teams are now required to design and fabricate their own wheels. Any component contacting the course surface for traction and mobility, including, but not limited to wheels, tracks, treads or belts cannot be purchased or considered an “off-the-shelf” product. As in years past, teams are not allowed to incorporate inflated (or un-inflated) pneumatic tires.
The second new feature is an optional “Sample Return” challenge. Teams competing in this separate competition will collect four samples (liquid, small pebbles, large rocks and soil samples) using a mechanical arm or grabber they design and build.
If You Go to Watch
Teams arrive in Huntsville April 7 for registration, with live racing taking place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT on both Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9. Both race days will be broadcast on Marshall’s Ustream website, with race updates and results posted throughout the day on the Rover Challenge Twitter account: @RoverChallenge.
View the live, two-day broadcast on Marshall’s Ustream page!
The event concludes with a ceremony at 6:00 PM, April 9 in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration where event sponsors will present awards for best design, rookie team, pit crew award and other accomplishments.
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.