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Martian Explorers: Design a New Mars Rover

Aimed at the 11-14 age group, this is a unit of six one-hour design and technology lessons to develop an understanding of how systems on exploration robots are combined and collect data. Students are given a design brief to build their own model rover, experientially, to function in simulated Martian conditions. Their rover should build on the work of the ExoMars programme, but become a part of its own mission. The design brief is:

Working as a specialised robotics engineer on behalf of the European Space Agency you have been asked to design and produce a prototype for a new Mars rover that can be used in future exploration missions. You should use the work of the ExoMars programme to help you  understand what is needed from your Mars rover. Your rover needs to be based around a solar powered drive system, mounted onto a lightweight chassis. It should be capable of detecting changes in temperature as it travels along the Martian surface. It should be robust enough to travel along rough ground and through dust storms.

The unit uses a solar buggy kit and a heat sensor circuit kit as a basis to develop a bespoke solution, their design is expected to develop iteratively from these key components.

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