Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

January 26, 2007

Contact: Lisa Merkl
713.743.8192 (office)
713.605.1757 (pager)

Fifth Annual Competition Attracts Nearly 200 Elementary and Middle School Contestants

Sixty-one Mars rovers will be buzzing around the University of Houston campus Saturday, Jan. 27, as 177 area elementary- and middle-school students unveil their creations at the Fifth Annual Mars Rover Model Celebration and Exhibition.

The annual event takes place noon to 6 p.m. and showcases Mars rovers crafted from simple art supplies and found objects, as well as more complex solar-powered kits and radio-controlled car chassis.

The 177 future scientists and engineers will showcase their model rovers in the Houston Room of the UH University Center. Entries comprise the best teams from 19 participating schools, including those from Houston, Crosby, Waller, Galveston and Shelton.

Students were supplied design criteria and had to complete basic research on Mars to accurately determine the feasible operational and structural features for their rovers. In a workshop at UH, teachers were trained to guide students in building the models during six-week classroom-learning and homework projects. Maximum cost for materials ranges from $25 to $50, depending on the category entered.

Volunteers from the UH College of Education, UH student body, high-tech companies, NASA and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AIAA) will judge the event. Houston First Lady Andrea White will present the awards. Sponsors are the UH Texas Learning and Computation Center, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Physics, Office of the Provost and AIAA.

WHAT: Fifth Annual Mars Rover Model Celebration and Exhibition
WHEN: Noon-6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27

Noon-1 p.m. Entries arrive
1-2:30 p.m. Elementary school judging
2:40-4 p.m. Middle school judging
4-5 p.m. Talk on “Exploring the Martian Surface,” by Professor James Rice, Arizona State University
5:30 p.m. Awards ceremony
WHERE: University of Houston
University Center – Houston Room
Off Calhoun Road, Entrance 1
WHO: Area elementary and middle school students (entrants)
Houston First Lady Andrea White (award ceremony MC)

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