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Photos: Students gear up for moonbuggy race

On April 7 and 8 students will peddle for the medals at NASA's 13th annual Great Moonbuggy Race.

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Utah State University

On April 7 and 8 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., 58 high school and college student teams will race across the surface of the moon--or at least a simulated lunar racetrack--at NASA's 13th annual Great Moonbuggy Race. The race, inspired by the Apollo moon landings, will feature a time trial over a half-mile lunar obstacle course that includes craters, rocks, lava ridges, inclines and lunar soil.

A team from Utah State University, which included these two riders, won the 2005 race.

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Pittsburg State University

Each team consists of six members who are responsible for designing and building their vehicle. Two drivers, one male and one female, are selected from each team.

Team Two of Pittsburg State University, in Kansas, grabbed second place in the 2005 race.

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race 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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Lunar Rover

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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Madison County Career Academy Team 1

As would be the case for vehicles used in a real lunar landing, the moonbuggies used in the race must arrive in parts. Each race entry is assembled at the starting line.

Madison County Career Academy Team 1 from Huntsville, Ala., bounced its way to the winning time for the high school division in 2005.

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Lafayette County C-1 High School

In addition to awards for the top three finishers from the college and high school divisions, prizes will be given for unique, most-improved and best overall designs. A safety award has been added for the 2006 race.

The backseat pedaler helps climb a lunar crater for the 2006 high school second-place winner, from Lafayette County C-1 High School of Higginsville, Mo.

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Mars rovers

Two other famous NASA rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are leaving their tracks on Mars.

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Antarctic rover

Another spinoff of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle program is the Lunar Rover Initative at Carnegie Mellon University. The goal of this ongoing project is to create robots that can explore unknown territory and do science experiments at interesting locations. This rover is from a 1998 expedition that searched for meteorites in the Antarctic.

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