Indian engineering students awarded by NASA

NASA awarded the students for designing a lunar vehicle for future expeditions to the moon.

Updated: Apr 24, 2011, 14:48 PM IST

New Delhi: Six teams from different engineering colleges of India were awarded in a competition organised by international space agency NASA, for designing a lunar vehicle for future expeditions to the moon.

The competition -- Great Moonbuggy Race competition challenges the students to tackle several engineering problems dealt with by Apollo-era lunar rover developers at the
Marshall Center in the late 1960s.

Students from high school and college are supposed to design, build and race lightweight, human-powered rovers called "moonbuggies".

This year 84 teams, six from India, of enterprising future engineers demonstrated the same ingenuity and can-do spirit at the event.

The participating students were required to design a vehicle that would address a series of engineering problems that are similar to those faced by the original Moonbuggy team.

Each Moonbuggy was supposed to be human powered and carried two students, one female and one male, over a half-mile simulated lunar terrain course including "craters",
rocks, "lava" ridges, inclines and "lunar" soil.

The engineering colleges Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Punjab Engineering College University of Technology (two teams), Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Jaipur National University bagged the coveted award for best performance by an international team in the event held on April 1-2 in Huntsille, Ala, the NASA website said.

The two-day event was organised by NASA`s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

The award is shared by the six Indian teams and a Russian team from Moscow Aviation University, Russia.

Among the participating teams were the US high school, college and university students from 22 states and Puerto Rico; and international challengers from six countries,
including returning teams from Canada, India and Germany and-- for the first time -- racers from Ethiopia, Pakistan and Russia.

A team of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi, was among the six teams who won the coveted prize.

A team of four members consisting of Jitin Luthra, Dharmendra Tarkar, Dhruv Akhauri and Rivzin Wangmolachic went to Ala on March 29 for the event.

Two of their team members could not go due to some financial problems.

"It was a nice experience. We learned a lot. There were other teams also like Ethopia and Russia. We had a great time," Jitin Luthra said.

"The students spend nearly three months for the race preparations. They really worked hard," faculty advisor Dr Sanjay Kumar Chak said.

The two teams of Punjab Engineering College University of Technology (PECUT) -- Aryabhatt and Rough Rider also won the award.

"There was a delay in the arrival of the shipped buggies. They did not arrive till April 1, the day of the race was scheduled to start.

Congratulating the two teams, PECUT Dean Academic Affairs Professor Sanjeev Sofat said, "We appreciate the efforts of the teams. Both the teams had given an exceptional