20th annual Great Moonbuggy Race begins Friday - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

20th annual Great Moonbuggy Race begins Friday

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NASA's annual Great Moonbuggy Race kicks off on its 20th year this weekend.

The race begins bright and early at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center at 7:30 a.m. Friday and continues until Saturday when a winning team will be named.

More than 600 high school and college students are expected to participate in this year's race with some teams traveling from as far as Puerto Rico, Canada, India, Germany, Mexico and Russia.

Participating students are asked to design and build a two-person "moonbuggy" that could overcome similar engineering problems that the original Moonbuggy team faced in the 1960s.

The competition is designed to "teach students to troubleshoot and solve problems, and demonstrates NASA's continuing commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts," according to NASA's website that details the race's history and background.

Teams will navigate their buggies around a half-mile course that simulates the surface of the moon.

The race will stream live via UStream and participants are encouraged to post updates on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #NASASocial and #moonbuggy.

NASA began the race in 1994 and was inspired by the rovers developed for the Apollo moon missions in the 1970s.

Spectators are welcome to attend.

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