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Photos: 'Moonbuggies' bounce to the finish line

Teams of students designed, built and raced vehicles for NASA's 13th annual Great Moonbuggy Race.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor
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college winners

The moonbuggy team from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., takes first place at NASA's 13th annual Great Moonbuggy Race at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., on Saturday. 34 college and high school teams from across the United States competed over simulated lunar terrain in a race inspired by lunar rovers on the final three Apollo missions.

Student teams faced the same challenges confronting NASA engineers--to build compact, light and durable vehicles that had to be assembled on the go. Pittsburg State's team won a trophy, a trip to a space shuttle launch and a cash prize.

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high school winners

High-school winners from Huntsville Center for Technology of Huntsville, Ala., turn the corner on two wheels.

NASA hopes the race will inspire participants to pursue careers in math, science and engineering. It also hopes to keep the dream of human space exploration alive.

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bouncing

The team from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Ind., used the back-to-back method of racing across a lunar-like obstacle course on its way to second-place in the college division.

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stuck in moon dust

The team from the University of Puerto Rico of Humacao strained their way through moon dust to earn a third-place tie with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.

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the course

Navigating the half-mile race course is simple: Start at the Space Shuttle, take a right at the Saturn V rocket, circle the craters and return to the Shuttle.

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obstacle course

Pana Senior High School from Pana, Ill., avoids pitfalls on a simulated lunar surface to finish third in the high school division.

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full speed ahead

The team from Erie High School in Erie, Kan., races to a second-place finish.

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Lunar Roving Vehicle

The moonbuggy race was inspired by the Lunar Roving Vehicles driven on the moon by astronauts on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions.

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