The Huntsville Center for Technology represents two of the 93 teams in this year’s Great Moonbuggy Race.
The Moonrats will be up against teams from 19 other states and Puerto Rico, as well as international competition like United Arab Emirates and India.
After more than four months of preparation, their buggy is streamlined and ready to go.
“I would have to say the lightness It is 70 pounds less than our other one,” said Moonrats team captain Mayra Ramirez. “It’s pretty light. If it can stay together, I’m pretty sure that we can win.”
“We put a new spring system in it to where it’s really, really smooth going over the bumps,” said Moonrats driver Quadre Williams. “Last year, it wasn’t too smooth, but now it’s just like we’re gliding over them.”
The teams of six must have one male and one female driver. The drivers then navigate a course that is seven-tenths of a mile featuring various lunar-like obstacles.
It’s not just about completing the course, but completing it cleanly. All drivers must keep hands and feet inside the moonbuggy at all times. If they touch any one of these obstacles they get a one minute penalty.
The top prizes include hardware, trips and more than $2800.
The race is about more than just win, though. It’s goal is to foster innovation in engineering.
“Someone that is creative, interested in the space program, perhaps interested in a career in engineering or design or science, this is a perfect opportunity for them to really see how far that interest goes and to see the work that actually goes into it,” said Diedra Williams, the Great Moonbuggy Race Project Manager.
It’s already swayed some participants. Quadre is just one of many students who now plans to go into engineering.