Abstract PDF: 

BYU M.A.R.S. is a competitive capstone team registered for the University Rover Challenge (URC) hosted by the Mars Society in May 2015. The competition involves a series of tasks to be performed by a student-designed rover. These tasks are designed to simulate conditions that may be encountered by future astronauts on Mars. The rover needs to be capable of retrieving items from specified GPS locations, traversing rugged terrain, manipulating switches and valves on an instrument panel, and collecting and analyzing soil samples.

The rover that we constructed was designed with the objective of successfully completing all competition tasks as efficiently as possible. The rover’s frame consists of a triangular, low profile aluminum chassis that is strong and lightweight. An electrical housing box is mounted on top of the frame and contains the rover’s batteries and communications equipment. Rigid suspension arms are connected to the chassis by rocker-pivot joints, allowing the rover’s six wheels to stay in contact with the ground even in rough terrain conditions. The wheels consist of compliant pneumatic tires with custom rubber treads that provide traction in sand and rock. A robotic arm is attached to the rear of the rover with interchangeable end attachments that are designed to manipulate objects and collect soil samples.

Successful design concepts implemented by students participating in the University Rover Challenge may be incorporated by agencies such as NASA in furthering the future of space exploration. One day, astronauts on Mars may find themselves performing routine maintenance and science experiments with the aid of a rover like the one designed here at BYU.

School Year (term): 
BYU Mechanical Engineering
Team Name: 
Eric Homer
Team Members: 
Aaron Morris, Andrew Zundel, Bennett Mortensen, Brian Monson, Doug Destro, Jason Sevey, Spencer Whitaker

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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