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NASA prepares for Moonbuggy Race

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Huntsville, Ala. (UPI) Mar 13, 2008
The U.S. space agency is transforming part of its Marshall Space Flight Center into a lunar landscape for the 15th annual Great Moonbuggy Race.

By the end of the month about a half-mile of cement footpaths at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration facility will be ready to test the engineering savvy and physical endurance of about 400 high school and college students in the April 4-5 event organized by NASA in Huntsville, Ala.

Students from 20 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, India and Germany, will race lightweight moonbuggies they designed, based on the lunar rover used during the 1971 Apollo 15 moon mission. The vehicles will encounter 17 course obstacles that will be built to resemble moon-like ridges, craters, sandy basins and lava-etched "rilles."

Each rover is piloted by two students: one male, one female. The drivers must conquer each obstacle without exceeding the race's 15-minute time limit -- a new rule this year.

"That camaraderie is exciting to see," said Tammy Rowan, manager of Marshall's Academic Affairs Office. "The race doesn't just pit schools against one another. It's a shared experience for students who love math, science and engineering."

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New Lunar South Polar Maps From SMART-1
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 13, 2008
Newly-released images of the lunar south-polar region obtained by ESA's SMART-1 are proving to be wonderful tools to zero-in on suitable study sites for potential future lunar exploration missions. SMART-1's Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) has collected many images of the lunar south-polar region, with unprecedented spatial resolution.







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