The Design Challenge
Design Brief: After the successful Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997, the Mars Odyssey mission in 2001, and the twin rover mission in 2003, NASA realized that some modifications needed to be made for upcoming Mars missions. On November 26, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory. This rover, also known as Curiosity, will investigate whether or not Mars could sustain life. This rover is equipped with a drill and scoop on its robotic arm, laser firing elemental composition apparatus, and an X-ray diffraction instrument which identifies minerals on the planet’s surface. Not to mention the on-board analytical laboratory within it. Curiosity is an amazing creation but, as members of the elite NASA Engineering Corp, your team has been selected as one of the groups to improve these Rovers which are to be used in future missions in order to traverse the rugged landscape of the Red Planet. Keep in mind that the terrain consists of large sand dunes created by great dust storms that periodically sweep the planet, innumerable rocky hills and valleys, and other demanding terrain.
Challenge: Using the materials supplied, along with any elements not supplied by the ISGC as listed in the Rover Materials & Design section, construct a Mars Rover tonavigate the challenging Martian terrain. Construction materials are RESTRICTED TO the elements listed in the Rover Materials & Design section. Note that NASA has these minimum requirement guidelines with regard to the Rover design process and Rover capabilities:
- NASA requires the Rover to be as lightweight as possible, due to NASA payload requirements on future Mars missions. (for further details, see p.33 of manual)
- The vehicle MUST be able to collect rock samples. Nothing smaller than a marble or larger than a golf ball will be used to represent Martian rocks on the Idaho TECH competition courses. The rocks the vehicle will collect will have a rough-like texture. (for further details, see p. 22 of manual).
- The Engineering Team may not exceed $50 in additional LEGO® components in their Rover design (for further details, see p. 9 of manual).
- In the nature of sound scientific research, the team MUST maintain a Lab Notebook of the design process and expenses. (for further details, see p. 19 of manual)
Rover Materials & Design
Elements Supplied by the ISGC
The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium provides three LEGO®kits for use by each Idaho TECH team. Teams are allowed to use any and/or all of the kit components in the construction of their Rover (it is not required to use every component in your design). Kits are to be returned to the ISGC at the end of the program (June 14, 2013)in the same condition as when they were received. Provided LEGO® kits include:
Kit “R” LEGO®Manufacturing Systems Kit (Kit “R” = red container) with 15 building cards (1-15) and 1 green instruction card located under the tray insert
Kit “Y” – LEGO® Pneumatics Kit (Kit “Y” = yellow container) with 2 building cards and 1 green instruction card located under the tray insert
Kit “E” – Extra LEGO®Kit (Kit “E” = yellow container with blue stripe) containing miscellaneous items not included in the original Y & R kits.
Do NOT glue or distort provided LEGO® pieces together! All pieces (except tubing and string) must be returned in the same condition as provided. Any damage to provided LEGO®pieces will result in a charge to replace the damaged LEGOs®.
NO geared-down, gear reduction motors or alternate power sources are allowed! Teams MUST use the LEGO®9-volt simple motors as provided. This also applies to extra motors purchased within the $50 additional LEGO®budget.
Elements NOT Supplied by the ISGC
Other than the LEGOs® provided by the ISGC, the following elements may also be used in the Rover design:
- Additional LEGO® Components: Each Engineering Team may purchase a maximum of $50 in additional LEGO®components (actual costs and/or estimated costs if donated). Additional LEGO®s are purchased directly from the vendor by the Idaho TECH team.
- Non-LEGO®Allowable Elements: Each Engineering Team is allowed to use an unlimited amount of materials on the following page in the construction of their Rover. Any non-LEGO® pieces not listed are NOT permissible in the construction of a Rover model. Funds for non-LEGO® elements are the responsibility of each Idaho TECH team. There is no limit on the amount of Non-LEGO® Allowable Elementsthat may be used; however, these elements should be common household items and must be itemized in the budget in the Lab Notebook using the categories listed.
- Non-LEGO® Allowable Elements