Coming to Casper: Innovation on the Oregon Trail
Qualified collegiate solar car teams will compete in the American Solar Challenge from July 8th to July 16th.
National Trails has partnered with the Innovators Educational Foundation to bring the American Solar Challenge to the Oregon National Historic Trails and you're invited to join the fun!
Inspired by the emigrants who moved along the same trail in the 1830s, the race will demonstrate technological ingenuity, teamwork, engineering skill and endurance.
Participants will navigate their self-designed solar vehicles from Omaha, Nebraska to Bend, Oregon.
All cars qualified for this event at the Formula Sun Grand Prix.
They must meet a detailed set of regulations and pass a series of inspections.
The long distance race covers both city and highway driving under real world conditions, so participants must prepare for ranging challenges like extreme weather conditions and fuel management.
This year's teams are:
#3 - Kentucky
#4 - MIT
#5 - Florida
#6 - Berkeley
#7 - Lonestar
#8 - UT Austin
#9 - Iowa State
#13 - Michigan State
#17 - Illinois State
#22 - Illinois
#26 - British Colombia
#32 - Principia
#35 - Minnesota
#49 - Georgia Tech
#55 - Esteban 10
#65 - Calgary
#87 - Virginia
#99 - NC State
#101 - ETS
#785 - Kansas
#786 - Western Michigan
#828 - APP State
Come see the cars, explore the historic site and discover solar technology!
Competitions like this one have been occurring since the 1990 GM Sunrays USA.
These events aim to promote a greater understanding of solar energy technology, its environmental benefits and potential for the future.
It's a “hands-on” opportunity for students and engineers to develop and demonstrate their technical and creative abilities.
The event's website tips its hat to the first "truly off-road vehicle":
"...the covered wagon had large wooden wheels to move over rough ground. The wheels were covered with an iron band to protect the wooden rim, and the front pair were smaller to make turning easier. Teams in the ASC use their understanding of engineering and electronics to design strong, efficient motors that are capable of climbing 3,000 feet through South Pass. A covered wagon’s 'engine' was just as important. Horses, mules, bulls, and cows could pull wagons, but oxen were generally considered the best choice due to their power and adaptability to water and feed conditions along the trail. Of course, just as repeated testing for solar car systems is necessary, training the oxen was of utmost importance; in fact, it could mean life or death when sounds or movements could startle them and cause a stampede."