On August 2nd 2019, the RWU-"Rover to Mars"-Team was the first German university to take part in a worldwide Rover Challenge and achieved a remarkable result in Calgary. The Rover project at RWU was launched in August 2018. And within just one year, the students had succeeded in developing and building a Mars rover from scratch.
The international team from Weingarten crossed the Atlantic with this device in their luggage. Rovers from different universities compete against each other in the Canadian a International Rover Challenge. Five tasks have to be mastered.
In the search and rescue operation, an injured astronaut had to be found and cared for in the dark. In the transport and crossing task, various objects had to be found in impassable terrain and returned to the base. Subsequently, soil samples had to be taken at a location determined by GPS coordinates. The long distance to the base put the radio connection to the rover to the test.
The fourth task simulated the crash of a landing module. This had to be found in order to collect data such as pictures and soil samples at the crash site. This challenge was - rather unusual for Mars - made more difficult by the Canadian rain. The fifth and last task was to test the manipulator of the rover, which had to be used to maintain a facility.
In the end, the RWU team landed in 9th place. The competition among the twelve teams was very strong with big universities like Washington, Warsaw and Michigan. In addition, many of the teams did not participate for the first time.
"Taking part in such a competition after only one year of preparation and finishing ninth out of twelve places is an achievement that underlines how motivated the team is," says Professor Dr. Markus Pfeil, who supports the team. The RWU-R2M-Team has already set its sights on the next competition. And of course, the rover and with it the placement should be improved by then.