Missouri S&T Solar Miner


Follow solar car race online

ROLLA, MO. – A 2,500-mile race involving solar cars (a sort of modern day Cannonball Run) is getting ready to happen this month, and Missouri University of Science and Technology is sending a crew along to provide eyewitness reports from the road.

The 2008 North American Solar Challenge starts July 13 near Dallas and concludes July 22 in Calgary, Alberta. Daily (sometimes hourly) dispatches -- including written updates, audio, photos and possibly video -- will be available at http://solar42.mst.edu/ . The idea is to provide access to information as the race is unfolding.

Missouri S&T students have been designing, building and racing solar-powered cars since 1993. The university has won two national championships in solar car racing, in 1999 and 2003, and has entered competitions around the world.

Among the towns and cities along the 2008 route are Plano, Texas; McAlester, Okla.; Neosho, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Fargo, N.D.; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Brandon, Manitoba; Regina, Saskatchewan; Medicine Hat, Alberta; and Calgary.

Approximately 25 teams are entered in the race. In order to reach highway speeds, the cars need about as much energy as it takes to blow dry your hair in the morning.

Energy from the sun is used to power the car batteries. None of the solar cars will consume any gasoline during the trip.

The teams will go as fast as they can (within the speed limit) and as far as they can during the day. At 6 p.m., they will be required to stop and set up camp for the night. However, there are four “stage stops” where all of the teams will stop for a day or two and recharge their batteries (literally and figuratively).

Stage stops are scheduled for Neosho, July 13-15; Sioux Falls, July 16-18; Winnipeg, July 19-20; and Medicine Hat, July 21-22. Teams that arrive at a stage stop early will have extra time to rest. The team that makes it to Calgary fastest wins.


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