NASA announced the winners of the 28th Annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge recently through a virtual award ceremony. There were 91 teams, including 58 colleges and 33 high schools. Among these brilliant minds were two Indian student groups who have made their countrymen proud with their achievements. There is a group from Decent Children Model Presidency School, Punjab, and Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu. They have won in the categories of STEM engagement and Social Media respectively.

NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge winners from India

Indian Students competing in NASA’s 2022 Human Exploration Rover Challenge | Source: NASA

There were 9 categories in the 2022 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. While the overall winners are from North America, there are two winning teams from our country. There’s the student group from Decent Children Model Presidency School, Punjab that won the STEM Engagement Award in the High School Division, and the team from Vellore Institute of Technology in Tamil Nadu that won in the College/University Division in the Social Media Award.

This year, the students were required to design, engineer, and test a human-powered rover on a simulated terrain like that of rocky bodies in the solar system. They also had to do side missions like “negotiating the course, including sample retrievals and spectrographic analysis”.

Commenting on the mission tasks, Aundra Brooks-Davenport, activity lead for the challenge at Marshall said, “This year, students were asked to design a course that would mimic obstacles as if they were competing in Huntsville. Ensuring team safety was a major factor in developing the design of their own obstacles. We are excited about the virtual competition and the opportunity it provided our teams.”

NASA rover challenge

NASA rover challenge images from a previous year | Source: NASA

This year, instead of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the contest was held online. Be that as it may, this is a prodigious event managed by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement which aims to encourage the young minds “to push the limits of innovation and imagine what it will take to explore the Moon, Mars, and other worlds”.

We hope all participants reach greater heights in their pursuit of science and technology. 

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