Building a Better Buggy: RISD Students Reach for the Moon
On April 1-2, a team of RISD students participated in this year’s NASA Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, AL, competing against teams from nearly 90 schools and colleges from as far away as Germany, Russia, India and Ethiopia. The goal? To design, build and race lightweight, human-powered vehicles over a half-mile of lunar-like terrain. Success rested on finding innovative solutions to engineering challenges similar to those faced in building the actual all-terrain vehicles used on the moon.
Last year RISD was the first art and design school ever to enter the race and took home third place. This year students spent late nights and countless hours building a better buggy, hoping that the many changes and enhancements they made would help them improve on last year’s finish.
The Moonbuggy competition is just one of several ways that RISD and NASA have been working together for more than 15 years. Other collaborative projects have had Industrial Design students looking at design for extreme environments, managing information overload and other innovative solutions for living and working in zero-gravity.
Update: RISD was awarded Best Moonbuggy Design (for solving engineering problems associated with lunar travel)