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No problems, Houston, as pupils win oil spill challenge

Dundee students triumph in Design Engineering Elegance category at NASA lab contest in Texas, writes Jackie Cosh

Dundee students triumph in Design Engineering Elegance category at NASA lab contest in Texas, writes Jackie Cosh

Representing Scotland is a proud event for most pupils; representing Europe is something none will ever forget. This was the case for youngsters from Menzieshill High in Dundee, which was the only school in Europe to be invited to NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas to attend last month's international Marine Advanced Technology Education ROV (remotely operated vehicle) competition.

Following on from their win at the European regional final at Robert Gordon University in March, six pupils travelled to compete against 53 schools and universities from across the US, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong.

The challenge they were set was called Offshore Oil Production and the Environment. It was based on last year's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, where billions of gallons poured into the sea. Each team was required to design systems which would allow for the damaged well-head to be capped. They then had to perform this mission in the neutral buoyancy tank.

Menzieshill pupils were delighted when their system won the Design Engineering Elegance award. They were also commended for producing what was described as the most compact ROV in the competition.

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