The high costs and dangers associated with space exploration have led NASA and other private enterprises to pursue planetary research through the use of unmanned robotic systems. Continued interest in the moon, mars, and deep-space exploration has created a demand for many surface rovers with specific research purposes.

With the catalyst of the RASC-AL Exploration Robo-ops Competition, sponsored by NASA and NIA, WPI was awarded the opportunity to develop a planetary exploration rover. For this competition eight university teams develop a rover to operate in a long range tele-operation sample return challenge at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Rock Yard, an analog testing facility in Houston, Texas. Our rover will be controlled by the drive team in Worcester, MA and will attempt to locate and acquire colored rocks distributed around analog Martian and lunar terrain. Our rover, ORYX 2.0 will be equipped with a camera and color detection vision system for locating rocks, and a robust scooping gripper to collect them. Look around our website and blogs to see more detail about our design and current progress.

More info about the competition can be found here: RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Website

Also the competition will be streamed live so you can watch of rover’s control interface and live video feed on our website or NASA’s website.