Britain is leading the way in the future of Mars exploration...
...you can be a part of it with this great education competition!
Mars is calling future engineers, scientists and designers to plan and design a Mars Rover mission to explore the planet’s surface. Teams of scientists and engineers from Astrium are currently working alongside space experts in Europe and America on future missions to explore planets, through a programme known as Aurora.
The ExoMars probe is scheduled to launch in 2018. On board will be an exploration buggy with many special features. These include: a drill to collect samples; ground-penetrating radar; a mini science lab to photograph and analyse samples; instruments to check for water and organic molecules; panoramic cameras and a computer to communicate daily with Earth. The buggy will travel around 100 metres a day, on wheels that rise and fall over bumps, guided by a hazard-avoidance system to prevent collisions with rocks.
There are two Astrium Mars rover prototypes – Bridget and Bruno. Bridget will be taking part in field trials in Tenerife in September 2011 where she will be trialling a variety of science and navigation equipment.
[Above: Meet Britain's Mars rover. Click graphic to enlarge]
Students aged 8 to 16 are invited to put forward ideas for a prototype Mars Rover. Students could work on their plans in science, design and technology, English or geography lessons. Alternatively, they could create their designs in afterschool clubs, or at home. Students can use a range of materials – junk, lego, plasticine, wood, food etc.
Closing date Entries must be received with the Mission data checklist (entry form) further down this page, by June 30, 2011. Entries will be judged during the UK Space Conference on Tuesday, July 5, 2011.
Entries will be judged by a panel of experts led by Lester Waugh, Engineering Manager at Astrium, with input from leading scientists such as Professor Colin Pillinger. Entries can be from individuals or from groups of up to six students.
• A reception for the winners at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London, during World Space Week on Wednesday 12 October 2011. There will be an opportunity to meet Bridget and her engineers, as well as other Mars experts.
• A behind-the-scenes tour of Bridget’s home at Astrium, Stevenage. Winners will get a chance to see Bridget at work in her own Mars yard.
• A visit from Bridget to the winning school. Also included is a full day with a LEGO education trainer, working alongside experts from Astrium.
About the challenge
Your mission is to develop one of the following:
• A mission plan for exploring Mars and a drawing of your Mars rover vehicle.
• A static model of a Mars exploration vehicle – or instruments that could be used on board – together with a plan for your mission.
• A working model of a Mars exploration vehicle.
What the judges are looking for
The panel will judge your mission proposal on:
• Clear mission and science objectives, timescales, and proposed landing site.The details of your proposed landing site.
• The ideas and presentation or your design for a mars rover and how you have described or annotated the technology you require (e.g. equipment, energy resources, how your rover will move).
• The quality and imagination of your model or model design.
More about your model
Designs Models should be shown in digital images – ideally annotated. They can be made from card, paper, Lego, Meccano or any other material you choose (even food) as long as they can be photographed. Static models will be judged on detail, originality, presentation and the quality of your mission proposal. Working models will be judged on design, innovation, presentation, build-quality, functionality and fitness for purpose. Working models should be independently controlled (remote or umbilical control) and able to traverse the planetary surface. They should weigh no more than 3 kg (1/50th of Bridget’s weight) and have a footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper (approximately 1/5 of Bridget’s footprint of 1400mm x 1200mm).
Mission data checklist
Please send your entry by email to: Info@venturethinking.com or by post to: Mars Explorer Challenge 14 Bayford Way Stansted CM24 8TQ
Need some help getting started? Check out the great resources by clicking below