Anyone who questions the ability of rover vehicles to explore other worlds need only look at Spirit and Opportunity—the Mars Exploration Rovers that have already outlived their expected lifespan on Mars by more than five years. And college students from seven universities are hoping to make their own discoveries about designing the next generation of rovers.
For the fourth year in a row, the Mars Society’s University Rover Challenge will take place at the site of the Mars Desert Research Station in southeast Utah’s canyon country. Since last September, college students in the U.S., Canada, Italy, and Poland have been researching, designing, and building their remote-controlled rovers in preparation for the ultimate test. On Thursday, June 3, the seven teams will arrive in the remote desert location to showcase their machines and participate in a series of competitions designed to show whether the rovers are up to the task of exploring the Martian surface.
In 2009, Sloan says, the stranded astronaut was rescued only once. “Almost every team chose to follow a gully that led to a dead end, and this is where most rovers either broke down or lost communications.” The team from Canada’s York University successfully carried out its astronaut rescue and went on to become the 2009 Rover Challenge champion.
To check out the list of 2010 teams, visit Mars Society
Stay tuned to PopSci.com for an update and final results on Monday, June 7.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.