Challenger Learning Center celebrates 50th anniversary of moon landing

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on July 17, 2019 with No Comments

Purdue Northwest students Harini Hamurugu and Aaron Kruseare seated in Rover #1, which took sixth place at NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge 2019 in April in Huntsville, Ala.

The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana will be hosting a family-friendly Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 20.  This event is for space fans of all ages.

Guests over the age of 10 will embark on an exclusive moon mission while putting their teamwork and communication skills to the test with family and friends. Cost per mission specialist is $25.  Younger astronauts ages 4 years old to 9 years old can explore earth’s only natural satellite through a series of games and interactive experiments in the Apollo Room. Cost per Moon Explorer is $10, with limited Moon Explorers parent passes available for $5.

Planetarium show and hands-on STEM activity lab are included in ticket purchase. A parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18 years old.  Two time slots will be available for both programs.  Parents can register for either the 10:00 a.m. to noon time slot or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. time slot.

After programs, guests can visit Challenger’s Galaxy Gift Shop to purchase their very own astronaut ice cream, Mars Mud or other unique gifts that are of interest to space enthusiasts of all ages.

Space is limited and registration is required. Parents can sign aspiring astronauts up online today at www.clcnwi.com or call (219) 989-3250.

To find out more, connect on social media through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @ChallengerNWI.

Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indianais located on the campus of Purdue University Northwest, 2300 173rd St., Hammond.Call (219) 989-3250 for more details.




PNW engineering teams finish in top 10 in NASA Rover Challenge


NASA’s twin Mars rovers, known as “Spirit” and “Opportunity,” have amassed unparalleled amounts of information about Earth’s distant cousin. Future explorations of Mars may include humans, which will require new technology—and Purdue University Northwest (PNW) graduates may be key players in this quest.

PNW students won sixth and ninth place honors in a field of over 50 rovers in NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge 2019, held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., April 12-13. The annual event features an engineering design challenge and promotes research and development of new technology for crewed space missions to other worlds.

The international competition included college teams from 20 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, as well as Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic and India.

PNW entered two rovers in the competition. Rover #1 finished in sixth place and Rover #2 came in at ninth place. They were also two of only 24 rovers that accumulated points in an allotted time.

“The rover team this year worked very well together as can be seen by their accomplishments,” PNW professor of mechanical engineering Harvey Abramowitz said. “Having both vehicles finish in the top nine, with chances for both to win it all, was awesome to see. The team itself was international in character with members from different parts of the globe, including Brazil and Malaysia, the home countries of the Rover #2 riders. Teamwork can accomplish much, and these students should be congratulated for representing PNW so well.”

The challenge required a student-constructed rover to traverse a 0.5 mile course with 14 Martian-type obstacles while performing a variety of five tasks, such as sampling rocks and planting a flag on a cratered surface. The rover itself was required to fold into a five foot cube and be driven by a male and female team.

Points were earned for each obstacle overcome and each task completed. The points must be earned within six minutes with the rover returning to the base within seven minutes for the points to count. The seven minute window mimics how much oxygen would be available for such an outer world excursion.

Both PNW rovers were built as senior design projects. PNW Rover #1 was driven by Aaron Kruse and Harini Ilamurugu, both mechanical engineering seniors. The riders for PNW Rover #2 were Athira Nair Surendran and Tulio Marcos Ribeiro, also mechanical engineering seniors.

Other members of the Rover Team included mechanical engineering seniors  John Resa, Mohammed Dawod, Adrian Guzman De La Mora, Yasser Salalmeh, Sam Olsen, Alex Murga, sophomore Ryan Matthew Harker, junior Anatasia Immaculata Ahearn, and electrical engineering seniors Adrian Aguayo and Missael Sahagun. Abramowitz and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Don Gray, advised the team.

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