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NASA awards three Indian teams for excellence in building rovers for space missions
The awards are presented to the best-designed systems.
As a part of the annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge that encourages high school and college students to build roving vehicles for future missions, NASA has awarded three Indian teams.
The team from KIET Group of Institutions in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, was honored with the "AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award", which is awarded for the best-designed systems that meet the space agency's Rover Challenge performance requirements, said NASA.
The Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering from Mumbai, Maharashtra, received both the "Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award" for tackling issues during the race, as well as the "System Safety Challenge Award".
Moreover, the team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab was awarded the "STEM Engagement Award" for being the best at informing masses about rocket science and other space-related topics.
Around 100 teams participated in the competition, including teams from the US, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, and Peru. Sunita Williams, Indo-American NASA astronaut was also present at the event, boosting teams' moral and participating in other activities.
The International Space Education Institute of Leipzig, Germany secured the first place in the high school division with 91 points, while the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez received the first prize in the college/university division with 101 points.
"We are so proud to congratulate this year's winners and every team that competed," said Bob Musgrove, Acting Manager of the Office of STEM Engagement at Marshall. "The creativity, skill, and resourcefulness demonstrated each year on the rover course are the very traits that paved our path to the Moon in 1969, and the ones that will continue to carry NASA forward to the Moon again in 2024," said Musgrove.
After building their rovers, the teams attempt to complete a three-quarter-mile course that has a lot of obstacles that resemble the terrain seen on Mars, as well as other planets. Moreover, the rovers should be capable of tasks such as sample collection and instrument deployment. The teams get six minutes to complete the course and complete 14 obstacles.