High schoolers to represent Bangladesh at NASA Rover Challenge | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:17 AM, December 27, 2019

High schoolers to represent Bangladesh at NASA Rover Challenge

For the second consecutive year, a team of high school students from Bangladesh have been selected to participate in the Nasa Human Exploration Rover Challenge, which is set to take place on April 17 – 18, 2020, at the US Space and Rocket Center in Alabama.

This year’s team, MAR5, consists of six youngsters, Aryan Andaleeb Azim, Rubaiyet Islam, Sadia Alam, Alif Hassan Aunkur, Tasnia Mustafa and Rafiul Alam Khan. They are guided by the youngest adviser in the competition’s history, Jawadul Hassan Probhat, a recent high school graduate. MAR5 is participating under Synopsis Education.

The Rover Challenge is an international competition for high school and university students, where each team has to plan and construct their own human-powered rover. Two team members will then have to use the vehicle to traverse specific obstacle courses prepared on the event premises. The teams will also get opportunities to conduct research, and those with the best papers will be awarded based on different categories.

It was not an easy journey for the team, however, as they had to tackle several problems.

“Unlike other participating countries where the teams get proper support, in Bangladesh, we don’t have the facilities and resources to carry out all the required work,” said Jawadul, who also took part in last year’s competition. “For example, we had to scour different areas to find appropriate materials, that too, keeping the financial constraints in mind.”

 “To make the rover, we had to spend several days in Dholaikhal and Shyampur for picking the right parts and attaching everything together,” added Rubaiyet, an alumnus of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Programme. Moreover, the high schoolers have their final exams a couple of weeks after the main event, but somehow, they are keeping everything in check.

Despite the hardships, all members agreed that going through the challenges has developed their skills immensely. “We learned how to plan and solve problems in unconventional situations,” said Aryan, a national medallist of Bangladesh Physics Olympiad. “We also feel that being a part of this competition will positively affect our future prospects.”

 Jannatul Ferdous Sigma, CEO of Synopsis Education, added that besides academics, it is essential for young people to participate in such competitions.

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