A team of 13 Indian engineering students, including four girls, will participate in NASA's prestigious global competition to build and design remotely operated vehicles from scratch.
The team named 'Screwdrivers' from Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management, Mumbai, will compete against 40 other teams from countries like China, Scotland, Russia, USA, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Denmark, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland in NASA's 15th annual international Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition in Houston from Thursday.
This competition is being organised by MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) and Screwdrivers is the only team from India and competing against 40 other teams from countries like China, Scotland, Russia, USA, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Denmark, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland.
Competing for a coveted prize as part of NASA's MATE international ROV competition, the team guided by Prof Sawankumar Naik, is all set to represent India at the NASA Johnson Space Canter's Neutral Buoyancy Lab from June 23 to 25.
"Although it is their third visit to the space centre, but this time, with over 40 participating teams from across the globe, the stakes are higher than ever," he told.
Students are expected to build and design their own remotely operated vehicles from scratch.
Chief Technical Officer, Vijayender Joshi said, "The tasks change each year but are always based on ocean engineering.
This year, NASA is going to start a mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa, since the moon also has water, the students would have to create a model, which will not only work underwater but also survive in space.
"The design is completely revamped from the model that went last year, we're told. And with various changes in design, the cost has come up to an approximately $1,000. Made over a span of five months, the robot, which the team calls 'spyder', has two parts - one that can stay above water and another that can go under it," he adds.
Team Screwdrivers has previously been felicitated by late President late APJ Abdul Kalam, Ace Nuclear Scientist Dr Anil Kakodkar, record holding astronaut Sunita Williams and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis for innovative design and cost-effective implementation.