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On Thursday, I shared some of my conversation with Harmony Science Academy student Robert Lopez. Robert is one of the four crew members of the HSA solar team that built a half-ton solar car in just 39 days. After our initial chat, Planet Experts got the camera rolling and let Robert walk us through the specifics of building this magnificent machine.

After we filmed, Robert told me that many of his fellow students at the El Paso academy choose to work in the robotics program (because robots) – but those projects can take a long time, up to a year. Robert is a much bigger fan of working hard, working fast, and seeing results.

Young Mr. Lopez embodies the mission of the Solar Technology and Research (STAR) club to which he belongs – namely, the student application of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and using that knowledge to overcome challenges.

The car Robert and his team showed us at Earth Day Texas is just the prototype for what will be the official Solar Car HSA will enter into the Solar Car Challenge that takes place in July. According to the brochure the team handed me, the Solar Car Challenge “is a friendly competition between ambitious high school students.” (Bear in mind, however, that this “friendly competition” is being waged by high schoolers that make robots and solar vehicles for fun.)

Robert Lopez with solar car. (Photo Credit: Rick Baraff)

Robert Lopez with solar car. (Photo Credit: Rick Baraff)

Established in 1993, the SCC began as an extracurricular program called the “Winston Solar Challenge” that eventually expanded to become a separate, nonprofit entity. The Challenge now includes competitors from over 65 schools in 20 states.

Earth Day Texas 2016 Series

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