A group of Missouri University of Science and Technology students recently pulled an all-nighter. But they weren’t studying for a test. They were gearing up for a challenge.
Missouri S&T’s Solar Car Team is working hard to finish building its car from scratch in time for the 2012 American Solar Challenge, which starts July 14 in Rochester, NY, and ends July 21 in St. Paul, Minn. The race route passes through all eight states that border the Great Lakes.
Eighteen teams are eligible to qualify — if they can get their cars in good working order ahead of the race.
Missouri S&T has won two championships in solar car racing, in 1999 and 2003. The University of Michigan has dominated of late, due in part to a large gap in funding among the teams.
This year, every team must use silicon cells that have lower power and cost less than some of the other kinds of solar cells that are available.
The teams are required to design and build a new vehicle for each official challenge. Missouri S&T’s latest car looks different than previous ones. The 2012 model has a stealth-like, black design. But S&T still uses 42 as its car number, as it always has.
Team members have various responsibilities, from technical to tactical. All of the teams have several drivers.
Among the many sponsors that support the Missouri S&T Solar Car Team is the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Energy.