NASA to Host 2017 Human Exploration Rover Challenge

Media are invited to watch as nearly 100 high school and college teams from across the globe compete Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 during NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Participating teams are from 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as competitors from several different countries, including Brazil, Germany, India and Mexico.

Student teams are required to design, build, test and race human-powered rovers, driven by one male and one female team member. The nearly three-quarter-mile courseboasts 17 grueling obstacles that simulate terrain found on Mars, as well as other planets, moons and asteroids throughout the solar system.

Teams will arrive in Huntsville on Thursday, March 30 for on-site registration, with the race taking place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT on March 30 and April 1. The event concludes with a ceremony at approximately 5 p.m. on April 1 in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Sponsors will present awards for best design, rookie team, pit crew award and other accomplishments.

Media interested in attending the rover challenge should contact Angela Storey in the Office of Communications at 256-544-0034 no later than 4 p.m. March 30.

The two-day event and awards ceremony will stream live online at:

Both days of the race also will stream live on the NASA Rover Challenge Facebook page.

This year’s race has a new, optional feature called the “Drive Train Technology Challenge.” Teams can develop reliable systems such as belts, drive shafts or direct drives to replace commonly used chains. Cash awards will be given for best overall performance.

The Rover Challenge highlights NASA’s goals for future exploration to Mars and beyond. Inspired by the lunar roving vehicles of the Apollo moon missions, the competition challenges students to solve engineering problems, while highlighting NASA’s commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.

The competition is hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and is managed by Marshall’s Academic Affairs Office. For more event details, race rules, information on the course, contributors and photos from previous competitions, as well as links to social media accounts providing real-time updates, visit: