Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Mars Rover Design Team is the only team from the United States that has qualified to compete at the European Rover Challenge (ERC), an international competition that challenges university students to design, build and operate the next generation of Mars rovers.
Missouri S&T’s team will compete against 26 other teams from colleges and universities around the world to best demonstrate the fundamentals of Mars rover machinery and future technology at the ERC, which will be held Sept. 5-6 in Podzamcze, Poland.
Prior to the start of the competition, the students were required to submit a video presentation that explained the design and cost of their rover. Students also had to submit a detailed final expense report to competition judges. At the competition, the team will compete in four active rover events.
The astronaut assistance task requires teams to use the rover to collect lost tools left in the field and deliver them to multiple locations throughout the field.
The equipment servicing task requires the rover to repair a mock equipment system. Tasks could include turning valves, pushing buttons and reading pressure gauges.
In the sample return task, the rover must take soil samples at selected sites in the field and use onboard instrumentation to perform a basic scientific evaluation to determine geological significance or determine the likelihood of biological life.
In the terrain traversing task, rovers will be required to maneuver through a variety of difficult terrains to test ruggedness and ability to find the route through soft sand, rough stones, rock and boulder fields, vertical drops, and steep slopes.
Missouri S&T’s Mars Rover, named Horizon, is a student-designed and -built machine. The team developed custom circuitry for the rover, machined the aluminum and carbon-fiber support structure, created carbon-fiber wheels, had the frame cut using water-jet technology at Missouri S&T’s Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center, and 3-D printed the gears and drill bits used in the rover’s arm. Earlier this year, the team earned fifth place at the University Rover Challenge sponsored by the Mars Society.
To fund its travel expenses, the team successfully raised $20,000 through a crowdfunding project. Its crowdfunding effort was funded 128 percent by donors who visited crowdfunding.mst.edu.
For more information about the competition, visit roverchallenge.eu or facebook.com/europeanroverchallenge.
The following Missouri S&T team members will travel to Poland:
Owen Chiaventone, a junior in computer engineering and computer science from Weston, Missouri
Joshua Jetter, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from El Dorado Hills, California
Alyssa McCarthy, a junior in engineering management from Waterloo, Illinois
Michael Miles, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Hannibal, Missouri
Joshua Reed, a senior in computer science from Clinton, Missouri
Spencer Vogel, a senior in computer science from St. Louis.
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