NASA has announced the winners of the 30th Human Exploration Rover Challenge (HERC), with Parish Episcopal School, from Dallas, winning first place in the high school division, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, capturing the college/university title.

The annual engineering competition – one of NASA’s longest standing challenges – held its concluding event April 19 and April 20, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The complete list of 2024 award winners is provided below:

High School Division

  • First Place: Parish Episcopal School, Dallas
  • Second Place: Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology, Reno, Nevada
  • Third Place: Escambia High School, Pensacola, Florida

College/University Division

  • First Place: University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Second Place: Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Third Place: Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina

Ingenuity Award

  • University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida

Phoenix Award

  • High School Division: East Central High School, Moss Point, Mississippi
  • College/University Division: North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

Task Challenge Award

  • High School Division: Erie High School, Erie, Colorado
  • College/University Division: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota

Project Review Award

  • High School Division: Parish Episcopal School, Dallas
  • College/University Division: University of Alabama in Huntsville

Featherweight Award

  • Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island

Safety Award

  • High School Division: NPS International School, Singapore
  • College/University Division: Instituto Especializado de Estudios Superiores Loyola, San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

Crash and Burn Award

  • KIET Group of Institutions, Delhi-NCR, India

Jeff Norris and Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award

Team Spirit Award

  • Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Most Improved Performance Award

  • High School Division: Jesco von Puttkamer School, Leipzig, Germany
  • College/University Division: Universidad Católica Boliviana – San Pablo, La Paz, Bolivia

Social Media Award

  • High School Division: Bledsoe County High School, Pikeville, Tennessee
  • College/University DivisionUniversidad de Piura, Peru

STEM Engagement Award

  • High School Division: Princess Margaret Secondary School, Surrey, British Columbia
  • College/University Division: Trine University, Angola, Indiana

Artemis Educator Award

  • Sadif Safarov from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Rookie of the Year

  • Kanakia International School, Mumbai, India

More than 600 students with 72 teams from around the world participated as HERC celebrated its 30th anniversary as a NASA competition.

Participating teams represented 42 colleges and universities and 30 high schools from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 13 other nations from around the world. Teams were awarded points based on navigating a half-mile obstacle course, conducting mission-specific task challenges, and completing multiple safety and design reviews with NASA engineers.

“This student design challenge encourages the next generation of scientists and engineers to engage in the design process by providing innovative concepts and unique perspectives,” said Vemitra Alexander, HERC activity lead for NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement at Marshall. “While celebrating the 30th anniversary of the challenge, HERC also continues NASA’s legacy of providing valuable experiences to students who may be responsible for planning future space missions including crewed missions to other worlds.”

HERC is one of NASA’s eight Artemis Student Challenges reflecting the goals of the Artemis program, which seeks to land the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon while establishing a long-term presence for science and exploration. NASA uses such challenges to encourage students to pursue degrees and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

HERC is managed by NASA’s Southeast Regional Office of STEM Engagement at Marshall. Since its inception in 1994, more than 15,000 students have participated in HERC – with many former students now working at NASA, or within the aerospace industry.
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