In 2014, Shaastra the technical fest of IIT- Madras is aiming for the moon, literally. An event, Lunar Rover Challenge, being organised by the institute seeks to identify the best student-made design for a moon rover.

The winning design will not only fetch the student a massive prize and internship opportunities but also stands a chance to be sent to the moon, said Tanuj Jhunjhunwala, coordinator, Shaastra 2014.

The institute has received close to 50 entries from students from different countries, including one from India.

The institute has partnered with Team Indus, India’s representative in the Google Lunar X Prize mission, a challenge that calls for participating teams to design and land a robot on the moon.

With over 52 events, workshops, techno-entertainment shows and seminars, the four-day fest starting this Saturday will also host lectures by Richard Stallman, pioneer of the Free Software movement, and Dave Lavery, leader of NASA’s Curiosity Mission to Mars. IIT- Madras, this year, will also showcase projects from all IITs as part of its research expo.

L.S. Ganesh, dean, students, said Shaastra has grown significantly in the last few years also due to efforts made by students to put their learning to use.

Thus, among the projects designed this year were safety designs for large tanks carrying inflammable fluids, apps that tracked student attendance and water level indicators to help students know which hostel had more drinking water. A virtual DJ, which will produce music from sensors that map body movement, is also a highlight of the fest. 

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT- Madras, said Shaastra was a manifestation of the institute’s philosophy, and of what the students learnt in the classroom.

“The tech fest is not only about events and competitions. In the last couple of years, students have started to showcase their research projects and the number will only increase in the coming years.”