Taofeek Orekan, a UConn National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellow in K-12 education, served as advisor to a team of eight high school students from Hartford Public High School’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on April 7-9. This is the second year Orekan led the team.
The Human Exploration Rover Challenge, previously known as the Great Moonbuggy Race, is an annual competition sponsored by NASA for high school and college students.
The teams designed, constructed, and tested pedal-powered rovers that had to go over a variety of landscapes designed to mimic planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. The teams also had to create their own wheels for the competition. Unassembled rovers had to fit in a 5 cubic-foot container, be carried by the drivers to the starting line, and put together before attempting the course. Each team had two official attempts at the course, as well as a practice run.
The Academy of Engineering and Green Technology team, called the Space Owls, was plagued by the pins that were used to hold the frame together, which broke repeatedly. However, they were able to effect quick repairs, and went on to win the Rover Challenge Race 2016 Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award, High School Division. This annual award recognizes ingenuity, resourcefulness, and leadership demonstrated in the exemplary support of their rover challenge team.
Wacth a video of two of the students assembling their vehicle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQHy8ZNEmvA&feature=youtu.be .