The European Rover Challenge will test our rover in four major areas, determining its practicality for a future space mission.
The aim of this task is to obtain samples of surface and subsurface layers of the soil taken from 3 different locations, analyse the quality of the sample, and store it for further analysis at a laboratory. A deep sample will be taken; between 15-35cm will be drilled. This task is crucial for analysing the planet's suitability for life, as well as resources.
Most manned missions try to limit human operation outside orbiting or surface habitats. Hence, the maintenance task is intended to demonstrate our rover's ability and performance in operating electrical panels on which several switches and other electrical components are mounted. These are tasks that the rover would need to be able to complete in order to be maximally practical on an extensive space mission.
This task is intended to demonstrate ability to perform a cache fetching scenario. Our rover has to reach locations marked on a map, search for and pick up the cache and place it into container on-board in a required orientation. Then it will deliver the container with the caches to final destination. This is crucial in completing a successful mission when collecting samples for further testing.
Our Rover will have the capability to traverse semi or fully autonomously. As the rover traverses, it will collect important information along the way. The smart navigation strategy, sensor fusion and image data processing are essential in this task.
Each year, special guests take part in the European Rover Challenge.
Dr Harrison Schmitt – Apollo 17 crew;
Prof. Scott Hubbard, ex. Head of NASA Ames;
Dr Robert Zubrin, The Mars Society Founder;
and Dr Gianfranco Visentin, Head of Automation and Robotics Section, European Space Agency.
Information gathered from the European Rover Challenge website: roverchallenge.eu