To support the US space program, NASA is calling on intrepid engineering and design teams of students to work like never before.
Registration for US student teams is now open to take part in the next NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, which will take place April 28-30, 2022 at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The 28th edition of the annual event – one of NASA’s Artemis Student Challenges led by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville – will challenge high school, college, and university students around the world, their light, by people powered rovers on a course simulating lunar and Martian terrain while performing mission-focused scientific tasks.
The competition is designed to immerse teams in the practical challenges of planning and conducting exploration missions on the surface of other worlds.
“Our goal is to create real connections between student ingenuity and the vital work NASA is doing to bring researchers back to the moon and pave the way for manned missions to Mars,” said education expert Catherine Shelton of the Southeast Regional Office NASA STEM engagement with Marshall, who organizes the Rover Challenge for the agency.
Teams wishing to register for the challenge should visit https://www.nasa.gov/stem/roverchallenge/registration/index.html.
The competition, in which around 100 teams of students from around the world compete annually, reflects the goals of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to get the first woman and black person to the moon by 2024.
Two drivers from each participating school have to steer their light rover over an 800 m long course full of scientific tasks and obstacles that simulate landscapes from another world. In recent years schools have been able to use up to two rovers. To encourage wider participation, NASA will limit each school to one rover this year.
Teams must complete the course in 8 minutes or less, overcome its obstacles and scientific assignments to earn points and potentially win awards provided by NASA and its partners.
The organizers have streamlined the course and removed two obstacles to bring the total down to 12. The change is intended to give teams more opportunity to focus on the five unique mission tasks, which include taking samples or photos or performing other simulated scientific objectives.
In accordance with COVID-19 health and safety concerns, masking and social distancing requirements will be enforced during the on-site event.
Teams are also faced with regular review milestones en route to the competition and must plan and conduct their own public STEM engagement activities, mostly targeting local middle schools in their communities.
NASA hopes the experience will inspire attendees – and fellow students in their home communities – to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, all of which are critical to the country’s goals in space.
US team registration for 2022 ends October 7th. International teams selected by NASA will also be announced that day.
The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is one of the agency’s most high-profile Artemis Student Challenges, offering hands-on experience to future scientists and engineers who may one day be planning new NASA science and discovery missions. Find out more about other Artemis Student Challenges at https://stem.nasa.gov/artemis.
NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement works to bring students real-world applications of science, technology, engineering, and math curricula, thereby helping shape future leaders in the aerospace industry.