Buckeye Engineers design, build and race planet rover at NASA event

Posted: April 17, 2015

Okay, imagine yourself on the moon. Or maybe even Mars.

That’s exactly what nine engineering students have been doing for the past few months. And for good reason. The Ohio State University Moonbuggy Team is in Huntsville, Alabama, this weekend (April 17-18) for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

Moonbuggy NASA Rover team members
Team members (l to r) Renae Acker, Matt Moore, Drew Demmerle, Ross Belkofer, Kurt Lang, Logan Rohaley, Rex Alexandre and Alec Martin
Nearly 100 student teams from around the world will race against each other at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. The competition requires teams to design, construct and race human-powered rovers through an obstacle course simulating the terrain potentially found on the moon, distant planets or asteroids.

According to team faculty advisor David Phillips, a Welding Engineering associate professor, this is Ohio State’s ninth team to compete in the Rover Challenge, formerly called the Great Moonbuggy Race. Team members include Renae Acker, team leader Rex Alexandre, Ross Belkofer, Austin Chester, Brandon Coates, Jeremy Conaway, Drew Demmerle, Christine Dong, Kurt Lang, Alec Martin, Matt Moore and Logan Rohaley.

“The motto for the team this year was 'test, test, test!'” said Phillips. “The goal was to complete the numerous buggy modifications needed—based on last year’s buggy performance—well in advance of the competition so that it could be thoroughly tested. I think they have an excellent chance of finishing at or near the top.” 

The nearly three-quarter mile obstacle course will have teams racing and maneuvering in, through and around full-size exhibits of rockets, space vehicles and extra-terrestrial terrain. The event is designed to teach students to solve engineering problems, while demonstrating NASA's commitment to mentoring new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.

You can follow the competition live on NASA TV Friday and Saturday.

Moonbuggy NASA Rover team

Moonbuggy NASA Rover team
Category: Students