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Bledsoe Challengers successfully roll through NASA Challenge

Who could imagine that a small rural high school could accomplish so much? It all started when the school began a STEM/Engineering program at its Career and Technical Education (CTE) site in 2019-2020. They had to decide on a capstone project for the year, explained instructor Michiel Palmer. Two years later, their mission was accomplished as they designed, built, and rode their land rover in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Competition (HERC) April 21-23 in Hunstville, Alabama.

Capstone projects usually are large projects that take several months and hours to complete, he said. They researched potential projects and found the NASA HERC project. It allows colleges and high schools to design, build and run a human pedaled buggy through an obstacle course that would resemble something found on the lunar surface, explained Palmer.

COVID shut the project down and everything was put on hold. In the 2021 school year, NASA decided to open the competition for a live event in Huntsville.

“We took another look at competing and after some discussion between the CTE director, Steve Reel, and a couple of the CTE teachers, we decided to see if there was interest in this project from the students,” said Palmer. “The initial meeting offered mixed concerns from, ‘there’s no way we can do this, we are just Bledsoe County, we don’t stand a chance’.”

For more see the May 4 issue of The Bledsonian Banner.

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