UBC students play Mars explorers in rover competition

Event: Mars rover challenge

Date/Time: Wednesday, January 29 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Fred Kaiser Building (map), Room 1180, 2332 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4

Parking: Health Sciences Parkade (map)

Second-year mechanical engineering students inspired by NASA’s Mars explorations will race remote-controlled “rovers” that they’ve designed themselves in a battle of wits, speed and design excellence.

The rovers will race over and around obstacles and traverse rough terrain designed to echo alien landscapes. They’ll navigate around hills and sand traps while being scored for speed, stability and ability to perform sudden stops. As an additional complication, the students will have to maintain full throttle throughout the competition-simulating a breakdown in which throttle control is lost.

As their first chance to merge academic knowledge with practical design, this competition will challenge students to put everything they’ve learned this year into execution. “The project is intended to be a fun introduction to the engineering design process,” says instructor Graham Hendra. “Our theme of a malfunctioning rover turned out to be very well-timed.” NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has been paralyzed by a software error since January 23.

Everyone is welcome and attendees can vote for their favourite rover design.

Images: Google Photos

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