Team Odyssey takes second place at NASA rover competition

photos courtesy of www.facebook.com/UCDOdyssey/

A team of mechanical engineering senior design students—Team Odyssey—took second place last Friday in Huntsville, Alabama at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. The team also brought home the featherweight award, which rewards teams that best meet the weight minimization challenge.

The team—Joshua Brill, Jeffrey Deutsch, Jessie Gibbons, Will Glass, Luke Makowski, Ryan McCort, Kayla McDermott, Kyle Osborne, Robert Sallee, Khyrsten Tatum, Tony Tieu, Alex Wamain, Nathan Webster and Tyler Wilson—competed against 70 other teams that were tasked with driving their rover through a course designed with obstacles similar to what one would find on surfaces in space. The team completed the half-mile course in 5:01 minutes. The team has been featured on CBS4 and on 9NEWS.

Per NASA’s website, the planned course for the competition requires two students, one female and one male, to traverse a terrain that includes a simulated field of asteroid debris — boulders from 5 to 15 inches across; an ancient stream bed with pebbles approximately 6 inches deep; and erosion ruts and crevasses of varying widths and depths. The challenge’s weight and time requirements encourage compactness, light weight, high performance and efficiency. As part of the competition — before their first time on the course—rover entries are tested to see that they would fit into a lander equipment bay, a maximum 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet in volume. Teams earn points by assembling the rover in the allotted time; designing a rover that is lightweight; successfully completing course obstacles; performing tasks throughout the mission; and meeting pre- and post-challenge requirements. Each team is permitted two excursions: The greater score of the two excursions will be used for the final team score.

Congratulations, Team Odyssey. We hope to see you at senior design on May 11.

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