WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A team of Purdue University students is preparing to launch a methane-powered rocket in a contest seeking new types of rockets.

The Purdue Space Program team is among numerous university student-engineering teams from around the globe competing in the FAR-MARS Prize contest. That competition seeks rockets that could land on Mars and refuel by harnessing the red planet’s resources.

The teams will launch their rockets in May from Southern California’s Mojave Desert.

Each will have two hours to deploy its launch system, fuel the rocket, and launch a payload that includes an altitude tracking device, and recover it via parachute.

Student teams that launch a bi-propellant liquid-fueled rocket to 45,000 feet will win $50,000. Those that can launch using liquid oxygen and liquid methane as fuel will win another $50,000.