A team of students from Washoe County School District’s Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT) returned home victorious after competing in the second annual NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, held in April, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Reno students’ team and their sophisticated rover vehicle finished third in the High School Division – Obstacle Course, presented for posting the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their division, with the fewest on-course penalties. The Reno team also won the System Safety Award for the high school team exemplifying the best safety practices.
Participants included 95 student teams from high schools, colleges and universities across 18 states and Puerto Rico as well as international teams from Germany, India, Mexico and Russia. Reno’s third-place finish clocked them in as the fastest high school team from the continental U.S.
Supported in part by Nevada NASA Space Grant Consortium (NVSGC), the Reno rover team is a partnership between the school district’s Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT), and Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada, Reno. University faculty worked with teachers and administrators from AACT to develop the program, which engages students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through hands-on experience, trains teachers and College of Education students in career and technical education, and studies the impact on student attitudes and academic performance.
The major technology challenge for this year’s NASA event was to design airless wheels that could function on the surfaces of the Moon, Mars and beyond.
“We’re so proud of these kids, and the awards this year build on our award-winning tradition over the past five years of participation,” said Dan Ruby, director of Fleischmann Planetarium and team advisor.
*Excerpt from an article by Andrea Turman, Nevada Today, 5/1/15. Read Article