The American Solar Challenge, a collegiate student competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered vehicles in a cross-country trek, is coming to Scotts Bluff National Monument Monday and Tuesday.
This year’s Solar Challenge is a road rally style event following the Oregon National Historic Trail from Independence, MO to Twin Falls, ID. The teams are stopping at nine National Park Service sites including Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering.
Faster teams are expected to arrive Monday between 1:00-6:00, depending on traffic, weather, and energy management decisions made by each of the teams. The other teams should arrive Tuesday morning between 9:00 and 11:30.
Each team will spend 45-minutes at the Monument, then continue their westward journey. The event is free and open to the public.
The stops at the Park Service sites will give visitors the unique opportunity to see the solar cars, meet the teams, and celebrate the journey of these new solar car “pioneers” along the Oregon Trail.
National Park Service rangers will provide fun activities and information about seeing the ruts and swales of the Oregon Trail.
The Innovators Educational Foundation organizes the American Solar Challenge every two years.
Teams this year can drive additional loops in some locations along the route to increase their distance, further showcasing the capabilities of their energy-efficient vehicles.