Mars in Their Sights
For the third year in a row, it was Vanderbilt at the top. In April, a black and gold Mini V rocket blasted into flight, reaching an altitude just short of 3,000 feet before popping its parachute and safely landing its payload. Defending national champion Vanderbilt Aerospace Club beat out 30 other university and college teams to win NASA’s annual rocketry competition, the Student Launch Challenge. The team focused on developing solutions to problems that would be encountered on Mars. Vanderbilt’s Mini-Mars Ascent Vehicle entry successfully included building a ground support robot that autonomously placed a simulated Mars soil sample in the rocket before liftoff.