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RASC-AL: LUNAR WHEEL DESIGN CHALLENGE - Help NASA Reinvent the Wheel!
Congratulations to our 2013 Roll-Off Teams!
- Old Dominion University
- University of Maryland
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2013 DESIGN CHALLENGE OVERVIEW
The RASC-AL Lunar Wheel Design Challenge is an engineering competition sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). In this exciting competition, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to create a multi-disciplinary team to build a lunar wheel prototype and demonstrate its capabilities while mounted on a John Deere Gator RSX utility vehicle in field tests at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard in July 2013.
NASA and NIA seek innovative and creative engineering ideas for a prototype wheel (tire and rim combination) to be used on NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). One of the current challenges facing human exploration of the Moon and Mars is developing a wheel that needs little maintenance, can travel at higher speeds needed for human rovers, and can withstand several years of harsh temperature swings, abrasive regolith, intense sun radiation, and lack of an Earth-like atmosphere.
In the Lunar Wheel Design Competition, NASA is challenging university teams to design and build a wheel that will withstand the unforgiving environments experienced on the Moon and Mars. Participating teams are expected to deliver four functioning wheels that can be tested on Earth using an off-road utility vehicle, and present their wheel concept to a design review panel. Presentations will be based on the team's technical paper that details the wheel concept's path-to-flight (how the design can be applied to actual planetary exploration on an SEV).
Based on Project Plans submitted by Sunday, January 19, 2013, up to 8 teams will be selected to participate in the challenge. The Lunar Wheel Steering Committee will review each team's project plan and announce the qualifying teams by January 28, 2013.
Up to 8 qualifying teams will be selected to receive a $9,000 award to facilitate full participation in the wheel design challenge, including expenses for wheel development, materials, testing equipment, hardware and software. At the 2013 Lunar Wheel Roll-Off in Houston, teams will demonstrate their wheels' capabilities on a simulated planetary environment under the supervision of NASA judges. Up to three members of the team (plus the faculty advisor) will travel to JSC for the on-site testing.
Teams participating in the competition will be required to submit a written final report, build four lunar wheels, present to the judges during a Design Review, and demonstrate the wheels' capabilities during the Roll-Off.
Winning teams will receive cash prizes.
Interested in the Wheel Challenge? Click here for more details.