Solar Miner VI got to Crowder College this morning about 9:30 a.m. and the team will rest here (this is an official stage stop) until Tuesday morning.
So the teams to arrive in Neosho (in order) are: Michigan, Principia, Minnesota, Germany and Missouri S&T. The rest of the pack is presumably still in Oklahoma.
Functionality and performance are always going to be the primary concerns of engineers, but looks matter. And in the aesthetic arena, Michigan and the team from Germany are in a class by themselves (no doubt aided by really big budgets). The Michigan car is sleek with a wolverine football helmet design painted into the canopy, while the German car looks like a huge fishing lure or a yellow humpback whale. And when it's charging, the German vehicle opens up like a big clam. These cars are very impressive and wonderfully designed, but we'll see if they have been built to withstand the stress of the long haul.
Meanwhile, the S&T team is relying on the kind of old school engineering that once got American astronauts to the moon and back. It reminds us of Tom Hanks in Apollo 13. Sure, the Solar Miners have GPS and all kinds of sophisticated equipment, but we're pretty sure they're also relying on plenty of duct tape, wire hangers, shoelaces and possibly transistor radio parts.
ANYWAY, we started in Missouri and now we're back in Missouri. We won't return until we've been all the way to Calgary.
Tonight: some faculty and staff and alumni and friends are gathering in Neosho. Tomorrow: on to Topeka and beyond. The weather looks great.
We hope to get an audio interview with the German team at some point; we promise that at least half of it will be in English.