Newswise – That’s “lunch,” not “launch”?Imagine building a lunar vehicle and taking it 233,857 miles from the Earth to the moon only to forget to pack a lunch for the drive across the moon’s landscape. The solution: pack a lunch and reduce cargo weight at the same time by building an edible lunar rover.
A group of Ball State University students is working with six grade students from Australia?an unlikely combination?to find a way to build a working space craft made of edible food that is no bigger than 8 inches in length and 4 inches wide. It must have two axles, four rotating wheels and be entirely edible, except for toothpicks.
Ball State professor Walter Smith says, “Overall, going to the moon is a daunting project because of the amount of fuel it takes to send a payload from Earth. If you build a vehicle made of food, you can cut down on the amount of materials and fuel needed to go to the moon. We are telling the students to consider the viability of having a vehicle that can be eaten as you travel across the moon.”
But what kind of food to use? Smith says, “The working model will probably be made from fruit or a breakfast cereal, while the wheels will be made from lollipops.” Sounds like the gingerbread houses that many people make as Christmas decorations. However, this is a serious project. In light of recent cost overruns, government agencies, including NASA, have begun recruiting private talent for the new inventions they need, using contests or student learning situations. Since we’re planning to go to the moon again in 2018, this time astronauts may take their lunch along.
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