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Indian students bag NASA awards for Human Exploration Rover Challenge

WASHINGTON (PTI): Two Indian students' teams from the New Delhi area and Mumbai have won awards from the NASA for the Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

The KIET Group of Institutions, Delhi-NCR has won the award in the "Crash and Burn" category of the annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge (HERC) award, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Monday.

The Kanakia International School from Mumbai was given the "Rookie of the Year" award.

More than 600 students with 72 teams from around the world participated as the HERC celebrated its 30th anniversary as a NASA competition. Parish Episcopal School from Dallas in the United States secured the first place in the high school division and the University of Alabama in Huntsville captured the college/ university title.

The annual engineering competition – one of the NASA's longest-standing challenges – held its concluding event on April 19 and April 20 at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, near the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre.

The participating teams represented 42 colleges and universities and 30 high schools from 24 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 13 other countries, including India, from around the world. The teams were awarded points based on navigating a half-mile obstacle course, conducting mission-specific task challenges and completing multiple safety and design reviews with NASA engineers, a media release said.

"This student design challenge encourages the next generation of scientists and engineers to engage in the design process by providing innovative concepts and unique perspectives," said Vemitra Alexander, HERC activity lead for the NASA's Office of STEM Engagement.

"While celebrating the 30th anniversary of the challenge, HERC also continues NASA's legacy of providing valuable experiences to students who may be responsible for planning future space missions, including crewed missions to other worlds," Alexander added.

The HERC is one of the NASA's eight Artemis Student Challenges reflecting the goals of the Artemis programme, which seeks to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon while establishing a long-term presence for science and exploration. The NASA uses such challenges to encourage students to pursue degrees and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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