for the Great Light Racer Championship is now open - Finals to be
held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 19 - October 21, 2007
The Light Racers Championship, a space technology competition,
challenges kids, young adults and grown ups to design, build and
race beam-powered lunar rovers that could help NASA get to the ice
deposits located in the permanently shadowed craters of the lunar
Foundation opened registration on July 30 2007 for the 2007 Great
Light Racer Championship. Total prize
purse this year is $10,000 and registration has opened.
presence of water in the permanently shadowed craters of the Lunar
poles is the best opportunity we have of using local resources on
the surface of the Moon.
competition to explore the use of light beams to power Lunar rovers in these
ancient and dark recesses of our nearest solar neighbour.
Racers project is a wide-ranging educational program that teaches
planetary science, physics, math and engineering concepts, in a
fun and challenging environment that rewards innovation and
Who can play?
The championship is open to three groups: Schools, Families, and
Grown-Ups. School and family groups must have a person under the
age of 16 controlling the car. A grown-up can handle the
How much does it cost?
A basic entry will cost $200-$250 to build. Spaceward charges $25
When do we play?
Preliminaries will be held starting October 15th at the
competition site. To qualify, a team must demonstrate an
end-to-end beam powered run. The best 32 teams will move on to the
play-offs, which will be held on Saturday, October 20th.
What can we win?
All qualifiers will receive a personalized NASA logo certificate.
Winning teams will take home $500, runner ups will take home $250,
and there will be other prizes for distinguished teams. The real
pay-back, however, is weeks of educational fun and the excitement
of the championship. Bragging rights count too.
What do we need to build?
Each team needs to bring in only a beam powered RC Car. Spaceward
will provide the spot lights, track, and other gadgets such as
light trees and finish wires.
How can I practice?
Practice helps. If you can't get a commercial spotlight, use a
smaller source such as a handheld spotlight and get close to the
car. Use math to calculate how close you need to get. No need to
practice in darkness - it is enough that the ambient light is dim
- if your beam of light is brighter than the ambient light, you're
Once I register, what happens?
Registration gets you on our lists, so we can let you into the
qualification rounds during the week. You will also receive a
starter's pack by mail. On site, one registration gets you three
qualifying shots. If you succeed in completing an end-to-end run,
you are considered "qualified" and receive a certificate listing
your team name and your official time. The best time out of three
shots is your official time.
Where should I start?
A very good place to start is your neighbourhood hobby shop or
electronics store, or our starter's kit page. Get a Remote Control
car. Better still - get a person who's been seriously playing with
I want to practice with a real spotlight - where can I get one?
Our good friend Ken suggested the local theatre - they have a
stage, and they have spotlight. You can also rent a
competition-type spotlight from your local spot-light rental
facility. A school's gym is an ideal practice grounds.
What is the race track like?
We will have two types of tracks - hard surface for speed, and
loose dirt with obstacles. Your choice of track will occur when
you qualify. The hard track is defined above, we're still working
on the obstacle one.
How fast will the car go?
That all depends on how well you can extract power from the beam.
At full speed, when consuming 50 Watts or so, these cars can go 10
feet per second. We expect significant hick-ups along the way
though, and so a typical race will last anywhere between 30 and 60
Play-from-home Mars Exploration (Future Competition)
If the moon
is a rocky lifeless island near the shore, Mars is the promising
coastline of a new continent. Based on what we know of Mars today,
it is by far the most important location in the Solar system to
Robotic Construction challenge is a future challenge that may be
implemented in 2008. It focuses on robotic assembly of
large structures on remote planets such as Mars. maybe
implemented in 2008 by Spaceward
Visitors never set foot on MarsScape,
competition facility MarsScape, (nicknamed "The Mars Barn").
Instead, they control robots in it using a delayed
communication link, operating from a "mission control center" at
their school or university. For this reason, MarsScape does not
have to be located in a prime location and the facility only has
to accommodate the operating crew while able to cater to the
entire United States and the world beyond.