Bright young sparks do battle 


Nearly 400 high school students attended last year’s challenge

Hundreds of Territory high school students will go back to the future and pit their Mars buggy and bridge building skills for the title of Science and Engineering Challenge champions at Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus this week.

The Science and Engineering Challenge is a joint project managed by Engineers Australia and supported by CDU to inspire young people about the opportunities available in science, technology and engineering.

CDU’s Head of the School of Engineering and Information Technology Professor Friso De Boer said the challenge in Alice Springs and Darwin was an opportunity for students in Years 9 and 10 to test their skills against students from other schools.

“The hands-on activities include bridge building and catapult creations, as well as building and testing a miniature ‘Mars Buggy’ planet rover and the new ‘Back to the Future’ activity, which has a rail running vehicle propelled by a team-designed propeller,” Professor De Boer said.

The back to the future activity will require students to think fast to help two panicked strangers, Marty McRun and Doc Emmett Green, to propel their time machine back to the future.

Students will also find themselves transported back to the 1850s in Gold Rush country located in the notorious Rincewind Mountains to solve the mystery of five missing hikers rumoured to have fallen prey to a Bunyip inhabiting the river.

Last year nearly 400 students attended the event.

The overall winner from the Northern Territory will participate in the national Grand Challenge in October where they will compete against schools from around Australia. Last year Darwin High School won the best ever NT result of second place in the Silver Division.

The Challenge is an outreach program conducted nationally by the University of Newcastle and will run on 4 and 5 May. For more information visit: