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ENGR 100 Research Guide

Project details

Each engineering team will be given a rover chassis. Your charge is to redesign the wheels in order to endure the "Martian Terrain". 

See this link for a quick explanation of the wheel damage:

Each team will compete to represent the class at the end of the semester and at the Maker Faire ( 

Mars Rover Design Project

The challenge

Students will build an Arduino based rover as a means to design and test wheels that achieve traction on a simulated Mars surface. The vehicle will be placed in multiple test beds switched on and with the front wheels. A successful solution will have the fastest time and the least amount of wheel damage. Bonus points will be awarded for any design that can also climb the most challenging text bed terrain. Each team will receive the same chasis. 

Performance expectations

Students will provide evidence of their understanding of the engineering design process by evaluating design solutions and determining how well their designs meet the constraints of the problem. Students will design studies to test their vehicle and the slected design must have gone through 2 design iterations. For this project, the teams are not required to design the hub but can use the existing up or create your own. The tire must be designed from at least 2 different materials. Your selected design must have gone through 2 iterations before competition in lab.

Constraints: Limits of the design due to available resources and environment

Criteria: Design requirements (typically instructor or client driven)

Challenge rules

  • The wheels may be of any shape, size or material as longs as the vehicle with the wheels attached can fit entirely within a square box with all 4 wheels touching the floor of the box. 
  • The total weight of the vehicle with wheels included may not exceed 5 lbs. 
  • Any completed design must be tested successful no less than 3 times, and mean average time must be calculated. More tests will add validity to the data, and data for any tests that are unsuccessful because of a malfunction - although recorded and reflected upon - should not be included in the average. All your tests should be included in the report with a discussion of the results.
  • After demonstrating a successful design on the least challenging terrain, teams may choose to test their design on more challenging terrain for bonus points.
  • The rover must be easy to dissemble and reusable at the end of the term. They are owned by the MSEL lab. 

Adopted from NASA Engineering Design Challenge


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