BYU Mars Rover Team wins most innovative design award in international competition

BYU’s Mars Rover Team recently took the award for the most innovative design at the international University Rover Challenge in southern Utah.

The University Rover Challenge (URC) is the foremost rover competition between university students worldwide. The competition tasks students to create and build a prototype Mars rover design. These designs are built with the intent of one day actually exploring the surface of Mars.

The BYU team placed fourth overall in this year’s international competition, however, they won the first ever Judges' Award for the Most Innovative Design.  According to the judges, this was awarded in recognition of the BYU team's novel suspension system that utilized custom Kevlar suspension springs.  This will be the seventh year that BYU has participated in this competition, but the first year that the team has been sponsored by the BYU Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton College.

The BYU team engineered a six-wheeled rover and combined it with a very minimalist skeletal frame. The rover, affectionately nicknamed “Hal,” was designed to tackle the various competition challenges, such as being able to find and return soil with signs of life, making deliveries to astronauts in the field and, the most important, being able to maneuver sandy, steep, and rocky territory. With its innovative mechanical arm, Hal has a variety of functions, such a drilling and collecting sub-surface samples, as well as manipulating items up to a weight of ten kilograms.

For more information, visit the University Rover Challenge site


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