Complex competitions
by Daniel Gaddy
Apr 10, 2011 | 2140 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bevill State student Brooke Parrish navigates a course designed to simulate the moon’s terrain during the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Two teams from Bevill State Community College competed in the event, which aims to provide hands-on engineering experience to students. - Photo Special to the Eagle
Bevill State student Brooke Parrish navigates a course designed to simulate the moon’s terrain during the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Two teams from Bevill State Community College competed in the event, which aims to provide hands-on engineering experience to students. - Photo Special to the Eagle
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Two teams of students from Bevill State Community College participated in an engineering competition in Huntsville's U.S. Space and Rocket Center last Saturday. Though the teams did not place in the event, their instructor said the students are energetic and looking ahead to next year's event.

"They have all come up with new ideas since being back," said Maurice Ingle, a drafting design instructor who oversaw the project. "They worked very hard, and we are very proud of them."

The event, the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, challenges high school and college students to design and build light-weight, human-powered rovers or moonbuggies as an homage to NASA's Lunar Roving Vehicles used in space missions in the early 1970s.

Ingle said this was the second year students from the local college have competed in the race.

The race, organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, involves a track that simulates the terrain of the moon's surface. However, the competition also requires the students to build a vehicle that can be collapsed and placed into a 4x4x4 box. Ingle said the students must also assemble the vehicle and carry it 20 feet as part of the competition as well.

More than 80 teams from as far away as Ethiopia and Pakistan came for the competition. However, Ingle said only two community colleges participated in the event. She said the two local teams finished 25th and 27th out of the 42 teams in their class.

Ingle said the ultimate goal of the project is to provide hands-on experience to the students, most of whom are engineering or drafting majors.

Ingle said the students who competed in last year's race served as mentors this year.

She said the students displayed a high level of commitment to the project, often staying in the shop as late as 3 a.m. to finish improvements to the buggies. The Bevill State students also went out of their way to help other teams competing in the event, Ingle said.

"I kidded them saying that it seemed like they built three buggies instead of two," she said. "That's something I really like to see."

Ingle said the students and instructors were fortunate to receive a great deal of help from staff members of the project's two sponsoring businesses, Alabama Power and Wilson Machine and Welding.