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UAH students compete in NASA's 'Human Exploration Rover Challenge'

Two teams from UAH are participating in the challenge.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), have teamed up to compete in a space rover challenge.

Two teams from a senior design "moon buggy class" at UAH are competing in a pandemic modified version of NASA's "Human Exploration Rover Challenge" (HERC).

In January, the teams "Twisted Metal" and "Falcon" presented a design review to a NASA panel consisting of subject matter experts. The teams then presented an operational readiness review to the same NASA panel in March.

The Falcon's pedal-powered rover is tested through an obstacle course on picking up soil or liquid samples.

The rover is designed to be lightweight at 150 pounds, and unfold and fold into a 5 ft. x 5 ft. x 5 ft. cube in less than a minute. Students say they're excited to be a part of this project after NASA's 'Perseverance' rover landed on Mars. 

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"It's awesome just to be a part of that right now. Getting able to see everything that you know, we might be the first generation to set foot on Mars. We never know that, and it's just awesome that we're getting to do something in the NASA program that might one day land on Mars," says UAH Falcon Team 1,Team Lead, John Baggett.

"The big change this year was NASA had to cancel their in-person event," says Twisted Metal Team and Financial Lead Michael Wexler, a senior in engineering from New Orleans, La. "Every year, teams from around the world come to Huntsville to compete in the Human Exploration Rover Challenge. With the travel and safety restrictions from Covid-19, that was not possible."

Results and awards from the competition will be announced virtually this Friday.