A redesigned rover has earned a group of ISU engineering students a chance to compete against teams from across the world at the end of May. Make 2 Innovate’s MAVRIC team will join 20 student groups from Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, India and Poland during the University Rover Challenge in Hanksville, Utah.
The highly competitive event will have MAVRIC performing in four challenges. The team will be gathering a soil sample with the rover and performing an analysis, completing a construction task using the arm of the rover, testing the rover’s abilities to traverse the rocky terrain during an engineering challenge, and using the rover to pick up various tools left in the field in an astronaut assistance challenge.
The selection process for the University Rover Challenge is based on rover design and preparedness of the team. Iowa State recently transitioned from a rover using a track to one with a wheel design, which the team believes will allow its rover to perform better, especially with six wheels. Matthew Nelson, team advisor and program coordinator explained, “Iowa State’s design is very close to what NASA is doing now. The team mimicked a lot of the NASA Mars rover Curiosity during the creation process of the current design.”
The MAVRIC team sent in a video of its rover to highlight its capabilities. There were about 50 total entries, and Nelson feels privileged to have been chosen. “It shows that our rover is ready for competition, and the team is so excited to compete.”
MAVRIC is one of 17 student teams that make up Iowa State’s Make 2 Innovate program. The rover team has students from mechanical, electrical and aerospace engineering working together.