Two PNW Student Teams Take Part in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: March 30, 2017

Purdue-Northwest-colorTwo teams of Purdue University Northwest students will take part in the 2017 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge taking place at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., Friday (3/31) and Saturday (4/1).

The PNW teams consisting of 21 students will compete against teams from 23 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as competitors from several different countries, including Brazil, Germany, India and Mexico.

PNW students won in 2016
PNW students have a history of success in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, taking home three first-place finishes in 2016. Those wins earned PNW the right to be the first two teams to race Friday morning, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The teams are led by Harvey Abramowitz, professor of mechanical engineering, with Don Gray, associate professor of electrical & computer engineering, working as advisor.

The race requirements
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 course includes 17 obstacles that simulate terrain found on Mars, as well as other planets, moons and asteroids throughout the solar system.

The Rover Challenge highlights NASA’s goals for future exploration to Mars and beyond and encourages students to solve engineering problems, while highlighting NASA's commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.

The telemetry challenge
The PNW teams will also take part in another challenge that asks students to develop and operate the most innovative and most useful real-time telemetry system at the NASA Rover Challenge.

Watching the events
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.

Further information about the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge can be found at

Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW), a comprehensive regional university within the Purdue University system, has two Northwest Indiana campuses in Hammond and Westville. The university was formed by the unification of the former Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central. With more than 15,000 students enrolled last fall and nearly 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, Purdue Northwest is Indiana’s fifth largest public university. For more information about PNW, visit