Marc Garneau is now a proud host of Canada’s first high school team for the Great Moonbuggy Race, an engineering competition headed by NASA. Last year, Alyssa, a Garneau Graduate and a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, came to speak with the grade 11 physics class regarding the aerospace program available at Carleton. Amongst her discussions, she mentioned the Moonbuggy competition, inadvertently sparking the development of Garneau’s own Moonbuggy team.
The 3 day competition will be hosted at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama early this spring. Students are to design a human powered, lightweight, and compact transportation device capable of transporting a boy-girl pair over simulated lunar terrain. This NASA initiative is designed to encourage the next generation of engineers and astronauts, by teaching troubleshooting and designing skills, similar to those faced by the members on the Apollo missions during the space race in the 1960s and ‘70s. For 2013, there will be approximately 100 teams, hailing from every corner of the world, from Germany to El Salvador.
Peter Wen, the founder of Garneau’s own 23-person crew, decided it would be both challenging and interesting to increase the Canadian presence at the competition and attend as a high school entry after attending the presentation last year. The group hosts meetings after school to discuss final design issues, as well as how assembly will be completed. Another primary focus of the group is outreach to potential international organizations willing to sponsor the 7000 dollar budget for the project, which includes transportation to the contest along with the materials necessary for the creation of the buggy itself.
Currently, the moonbuggy team is welcoming any interested new members, especially those with ‘handyman’ experience. Interested candidates can find the group online on Facebook via searching “moonbuggy”.
Garneau is Going for the Moon!