Now That The Holiday Is Over

It’s been a quiet weekend in Rolla. Graduation is over, the campus is nearly void of students, and summer classes haven’t started yet.
Almost void, that is. The semester is done, but that doesn’t mean the intercollegiate competition season is over, since two S&T student design teams have yet to show their stuff. This week the Miner Robotics Team heads back to Rochester, MI for the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), where student teams from all over the country turn their robots loose in hopes they’ll find their way home. It is a small-scale event, and coming “home” consists of the robot navigating its way through a big figure-eight course full of obstacles and turns. Last year no team made it all the way through, so points are awarded on distance and time.
The Robo-Miners have made lots of improvements to Aluminator’s brain, and with James Anderson’s leadership and Kevin Boyko’s technical help the team has the ‘bot seeing better than ever. They scrapped plans to build a complete new machine, and concentrated on doing a better lobotomy for 2010. We’ll report more from the northern Detroit suburbs Saturday evening, if not earlier.
Just a week later, the Solar Car Team, probably Missouri S&T’s most-recognized student design project, turns south to the Motorsport Ranch (MR) in Cresson, TX. MR owns a challenging road course where performance driving is the game; a playground for big kids, when you get right down to it. MR hosts the Formula Sun Gran Prix, a shake-down cruise for about 15 international solar car teams. FSGP examines safety, rules compliance, and road-worthiness of the cars that hope to race in the American Solar Challenge(ASC). The Cresson winner earns the pole position in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma-to-Chicago ASC race June 20th-26th, which retraces portions of previous solar car races.
Those who think summers are for goofing off or working construction aren’t very familiar with S&T’s programs, we’d bet.