Jason Hill, Team PrISUm, (515) 294-0899
Brenton Rothchild, Team PrISUm, (515) 572-2992
Marjorie Sandner, News Service, (515) 294-6881


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's solar car team, Team PrISUm, will send two members to Australia this month in the second international student exchange between solar car teams. The exchange program is with a solar car team from the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

The Iowa State students -- Jason Hill, a sophomore in computer engineering from Ankeny, Iowa, and Brenton Rothchild, a sophomore in computer engineering from West Des Moines, Iowa -- will leave for Australia Oct. 10 and return Oct. 27.

While they are in Australia, Hill and Rothchild will observe the World Solar Challenge, a solar car race that takes place every three years. The race begins Oct. 17 and covers 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) along the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia.

Hill said the World Solar Challenge is a very different type of event than Sunrayce, the solar car race in which Team PrISUm placed fifth in last summer.

"In the World Solar Challenge, a team will race for distance," Hill said. "They will drive their car until a set time, stop and pitch camp on the side of the road for the night. Then, they will start from that place in the morning. In Sunrayce, every team starts and stops from the same points each day."

Hill added that as the director of mechanical systems for Team PrISUm, he wants to "get some insight on the designs of other solar cars." He said that after the race he "will look at the correlation between the different design factors for the cars and the way they performed."

"The World Solar Challenge is an exciting opportunity for Team PrISUm and myself," Rothchild said. "I look forward to seeing the wide range of innovative solar car designs, especially the electrical and telemetry systems, but I'm also equally interested in observing other teams and their cooperative dynamics."

As part of the exchange, two members of the University of New South Wales solar car team were part of Iowa State's team during Sunrayce 99. Last December, two Team PrISUm members helped the New South Wales team as they attempted to break the west-to-east transcontinental solar car record from Perth to Sydney, Australia.

The student exchange between the University of New South Wales and Iowa State is an ongoing program. It is the first international solar car exchange program of its type.

Sunrayce is an ongoing educational program that culminates in a biennial cross-country race of solar-powered cars. Iowa State students have participated in all five Sunrayce events since 1990.

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