NASA kicked off the 19th annual Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Ala., on April 13, 2012. The two-day annual race is organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Since 1994, NASA has challenged student teams to build and race human-powered rovers of their own design. These fast, lightweight moonbuggies address many of the same engineering challenges overcome by Apollo-era lunar rover developers at Marshall in the late 1960s. The rocket center's challenging, looping, curving half-mile course of gravel embankments, sand pits and obstacles mimics lunar craters and ancient, fossilized lava flows. The course gives racers a realistic moon-traversing experience -- minus the airlessness and weightlessness.
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