For immediate release: April 5, 2012
Mayfield, San Andres H.S./MVTC
To Compete in Moon Buggy Race
LEFT: Members of the Mayfield High School Moon Buggy Race
team. ABOVE: Sponsors Jason McNiece, far left, and Michael
O’Donnell, third from left, and members of the San Andres High
School/Mesilla Valley Training Center Moon Buggy Race team.
Photos courtesy of Ligia Ford, NMSU.
By SNM SEMAA Project Specialist Ligia Ford
LAS CRUCES – Teams from two LCPS high schools will participate in the 19th annual Great
Moon Buggy Race in Huntsville, Alabama April 12-16, 2012, thanks to funding from the
Spaceport Gross Receipts Tax and a $800 donation from Dr. Maury Brown, owner of East
Lohman Veterinary Clinic in Las Cruces.
The two schools are Mayfield High School – sponsor, David Eason, and San Andres
High School in collaboration with LCPS Mesilla Valley Training Center (MVTC) – sponsors,
Jason McNiece and Michael O’Donnell.
The Great Moon Buggy competition requires students to build a human-powered vehicle
that can navigate a half- mile course with 17 obstacles in the
quickest amount of time. Further, the vehicle must be designed
by the students. The unassembled vehicle must fit inside a four-
foot by four-foot by four-foot container.
And the vehicle must be carried by the two drivers (one
male, one female) 20 feet prior to assembly. Finally, the students
must submit a 10-page paper describing the team, the vehicle
A member of the San Andres High and how they built it. The students present their moon buggy
School/MVTC Moon Buggy Race
team works on the team's vehicle. design to the judges at the competition.
David Eason and his Mayfield team are joining this event for the second time. This year,
MHS students completed welded their aluminum frame and rims. The students also added front
and rear suspension and disc brakes. The students showed off their moon buggy at the Las
Cruces Rod Runners annual Wheel of Dreams car show, held March 31 at the Field of Dreams.
MHS students attending the Great Moon Buggy Race are Edgar Aldaba, Zachery Eason,
Emily Wilkins, Derek Rankin and Samantha Chavarria. Two additional students who have
helped design and build the buggy are Kaitlin DeLaho and Rigo Aldaba.
Jason McNiece and Michael O’Donnell will also be taking the San Andres team to the
race for the second time. Team members from both San Andreas and MVTC are Brandon Saiz,
Anthony Hernandez, Isaac Soliz, Stephanie Leyva and Katelyn McNiece. New Mexico State
University Engineering student Tyrell Russell acted as a consultant to the project. Students
changed their moon buggy from last year by adding gears to control their speed, changed the
braking system, changed their seating, added suspension to their moon buggy and also lowered
their center of gravity.
The main goal of our project is to learn about the engineering design process. The
students learned more than they expected. For
most of them, it was about learning how to
work as a team. It was important for students to
be able to express their ideas and watch them
materialize. According to student evaluations,
this project has been a worthwhile endeavor. The Mayfield High School moon buggy.
They feel it is important to continue it as one of the SNM SEMAA engineering projects.
The top three winning teams in each division (one high school, one college) will be those
having the shortest total times in assembling their moon buggies and traversing the terrain
course. Each team is permitted two runs of the, with the shortest course time added to the
assembly time for the final total event time.
Last year’s competition included more than 70 teams and more than 600 student drivers,
engineers and mechanics from 18 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, India and Romania.
The moon buggy race is inspired by the original lunar rover, first piloted across the
moon's surface in the early 1970s during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. The first moon
buggy race, held in 1994, commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. At
the time, the event was only open to college teams, and eight participated. Two years later, the
event was expanded to include high school teams.
The Southern New Mexico Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy
(SNM SEMAA) is a collaboration of NASA, the NMSU Colleges of Education and Engineering,
Gadsden Independent School District, LCPS, parents and volunteers. SNM SEMAA is designed
to encourage normally underrepresented groups into the fields of science, engineering,
mathematics and technology through hands-on, inquiry-based science activities.
For more information contact Ligia Ford at 575.646.7524 or email@example.com. Visit
http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov/ and semaa.nmsu.edu.