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For release: 04/11/03
Release #: 03-056

Team from Higginsville, Mo. wins high school division in NASA's 10th Annual 'Great Moonbuggy Race'

Photo description: Moonbuggy Race 2003 high school winner, Lafayette County C-1 High School

A team from Lafayette County C-1 High School in Higginsville, Mo., captured first place honors at the 10th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala. The team topped 29 other racers representing high schools from 10 states. The East Lake High School team from Chula Vista, Calif., took second place and the team from New Orleans Area Schools in New Orleans, La., placed third.

Photo: Lafayette County C-1 High School, Higginsville, Mo., places first in high school division of 10th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala. (NASA/MSFC)

The right mix of brains and brawn was the key to victory today for a team from Higginsville, Mo., in the high school division of NASA's 10th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala.

The Lafayette County (Mo.) C-1 school's Team No. 2 bested 29 other teams representing high schools from 10 states, and repeating the first place finish by a Lafayette County High School team in the 2002 Great Moonbuggy Race. Besides the first-place honor, the team earned a weekend trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.

The team from East Lake High School in Chula Vista, Calif., finished second while a team from New Orleans Area Schools in New Orleans, La., placed third. Those teams received plaques, and all three winning teams received medallions and duffel bags bearing the Great Moonbuggy Race logo.

The award for best moonbuggy design went to the team from Huntsville Center for Technology in Huntsville, Ala. A special "pits award" for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems was won by the team from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga.

Vehicles powered by two team members -- one male and one female -- raced one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain.

The race is the culmination of a competition which challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle so they will learn how to deal with real-world engineering problems. The competition is inspired by the actual lunar roving vehicle project, which was successfully accomplished by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Marshall Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alabama-Mississippi Section, Aerospace Development Center of Alabama, Morgan Research Corporation, Jacobs Sverdrup Technology and television station WHNT, all of Huntsville, sponsored the event.

The college division competition will be held Saturday, with 27 teams from across the United States, including Puerto Rico, competing.

Other high school teams competing in Friday's event, listed alphabetically by city and state, were: Decatur High School in Decatur, Ala.; Fairhope High School in Fairhope, Ala.; Earnest Pruett Center of Technology in Hollywood, Ala.; Johnson High School in Huntsville; Madison County Career Academy in Huntsville; New Century Technology High School in Huntsville; Autauga County Technology Center in Prattville, Ala.; Labette County High School in Altamont, Kan.; Frontenac High School in Frontenac, Kan.; Independence High School in Independence, Kan.; Block High School in Jonesville, La.; Great Mills High School, Great Mills, Md.; Carthage High School in Carthage, Mo.; South Central Career Center West Plains, Mo.; Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, S.C.; Franklin County High School, Winchester, Tenn.; and C.E. King High School in Houston, Texas.

Also, the Marshall Venture Crew from Huntsville, Ala., Girard High School and Southeast High School, both in Pittsburg, Kan., participated as exhibition teams. In that status, members design and build a moonbuggy, but don't race competitively. An exhibition entry allows a team to learn more about the experience before competing in a subsequent year.

Photos of the top-finishing high school teams are available on line at the Marshall Newsroom:

For more information:
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Jerry Berg
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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