The Challenge

MRover's main goal is to win the University Rover Challenge (URC). This competition has student teams from all over the world design and build a rover, which could be used on Mars to assist future astronauts. The URC is hosted by The Mars Society which involves teams of university students from around the world all competing for the title. The competition takes place at the Mars Research Station located in the Utah Desert. The terrain serves as a close match to that of the rocky Mars surface. The teams must be able to maneuver their rovers through the unpredictable terrain using only the cameras on their rovers.

Mechanical Team

Chassis and Suspension

This year's rover features a carbon fiber chassis and rocker-bogie design, a passive suspension system, which ensures a neutral chassis angle and contact between all six wheels and the ground. A mechanical hard stop has also been implemented to prevent bogie inverse, a common issue with this type of suspension system.

Robotic Arm

One of the more versatile components of the rover is the robotic arm. With six degrees of freedom, the arm is capable of completing complicated motion trajectories, and can operate switches, turn valves, and connect tow carabiners, among other assistant-related tasks. It can also lift over 5 kg worth of tools and equipment.

Soil Sample Return

As the most diverse subteam, they combine their design ingenuity with their geological expertise to navigate the competition in search of evidence of life. Using satellite imagery and surveys of the area, they have created maps of different soil properties and have used these to find several sights with signs of recent water erosion.

Steering and Drive

Our six independently-drive wheels feature in-hub motors in order to increase the rover's ground clearance and utilize skid steering to allow for zero-radius turning. The wheels consist of a polyethylene hub with a polyurethane foam and rubber layer to decrease impact forces and increase traction with the ground.

Electrical Team

Integrated Control

Integrated control is responsible for the distribution, and consumption analysis of power on the rover, as well as designing and implementing circuitry to make functioning sensors.

Command and Data

This subsystem is responsible for developing a low-latency command interpreter to perform tasks that are directed by the base station and forwarding data from scientific sensors to the base station. We have two programs, one for the rover and one for the base station.

Communication

This subsystem is responsible for designing an efficient communications protocol enabling the rover and base station to send each other commands, status updates, and video.