On a recent, not-so-sunny day in Minnesota, the annual cross-country Solar Car Challenge wrapped up its week-long race from Texas to the Shakopee, Minnesota site where race sponsor Seagate operates. Unfortunately, bad weather during the last 120 miles prevented the race from finishing at the Seagate parking lot where it was slated to end.
In the advanced division, Houston Solar Race Team from the Houston School of Science and Technology in Mississippi completed the most driving miles of all the 17 teams, at 786 miles in seven days. The team pushed through the nasty weather and arrived at Seagate as the rain stopped.
The annual Solar Car Challenge is designed to motivate students in science, engineering, and alternative energy. The original challenge began in 1993 and now has nearly 200 high schools in 32 states that take part. Students learn how to design, engineer, build, and race roadworthy solar cars. Workshops, curriculum materials, and on-site visits help support the teams. The end product of each education cycle is the Solar Car Challenge: a closed-track event at the world famous Texas Motor Speedway, or a cross country event designed to give students an opportunity to show the country the product of their efforts.
“This event demonstrated real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in an interesting way for students in this community,” said Seagate’s Rich Segar, senior director, reliability. “Seagate places an emphasis on STEM activities in Minnesota and around the world, and this race showcases a unique experience.”