BYU students compete in a contest that’s out of this world
PROVO, Utah — BYU students competed in the annual University Rover Challenge and landed in a top ten position. The competition hosted students from 10 different countries to put their student-built Mars-like rovers to the test.
The University Rover Challenge took place at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah, which has a vast area of Mars-like terrain. Therefore, the station makes the perfect place for students to test out their creations, according to the BYU webpage.
The BYU team had a tough competition, going up against some of the best student engineering minds in the world. Furthermore, only 35 finalists out of 100 teams competed in Hanksville. In the end, BYU landed an impressive ninth place.
The top three teams came out as, the University of Michigan, Australia’s Monash University, and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.
The nuts and bolts
The competition which is run by the Mars Society tested the rovers with a lengthy list of functions to prove their mettle, according to the BYU website. First, the rovers had to manipulate toggles, switches, latches, and keyboards. Then, be able to pick up and put down objects, drill through desert materials, and detect life. Lastly, handle sand, wind, rain, and whatever other types of weather conditions that arise.
Countries represented in the competition included Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, India, Mexico, Poland, Turkey, and the United States.
“The BYU Mars Rover isn’t going to Mars, but the people who are developing it might,” said BYU mechanical engineering major Dallin Cordon. “And this isn’t a hypothetical. Currently, we have BYU alumni working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.”
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