World unis prepare lunar rover moonshots

Cosmos Magazine


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By Cosmos

Nearly two dozen teams from five nations have entered a space engineering challenge to be held in Adelaide next year.

The Australian Rover Challenge (ARCh) – organised by the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources at the University of Adelaide – is an annual robotics competition in which entrants develop semi-autonomous rovers capable of completing a series of tests in a lunar simulation.

Among the entrants are 10 Australian teams, including the most recent ARCh winners from Monash University, which also finished second in the ‘world’ University Rover Challenge held in Utah in June.

They’ll be the team to beat in South Australia early next year, with local competition coming from the University of Adelaide, UNSW, QUT, University of Western Australia, RMIT, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne, University of Wollongong, University of Queensland and UTS.

Bangladesh will be represented by teams from the American International University and Brac University.

India has two entrants hailing from the University of Delhi and a collaboration between the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Madras Christian College.

Teams from Turkey’s Istanbul Technical University and Poland’s Wroclaw University of Science and Technology will also participate.

Teams have until early November to submit what organisers call a “viable” design to be built for the competition. Shortlisted submissions will progress to the final competition on a purpose-built lunar simulation at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus.

“ARCh doesn’t just test the capabilities of lunar rovers; it stretches the future space engineers to work as teams to solve problems in real-time,” says Associate Professor John Culton, director of the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.

“The skillsets developed by students competing in the ARCh are increasingly relevant as efforts to develop infrastructure required to support long-duration human operations in deep space gain support from programs such as NASA’s Artemis.”

The Australian Rover Challenge finals will be held on 21-24 March.

Australian Rover Challenge competing teams

  • Adelaide Rover Team – University of Adelaide, Australia
  • AIUB Robotic Crew – American International University, Bangladesh
  • Bluesat – University of New South Wales, Australia
  • ITU Rover Team – Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
  • KMC Robophysicists – University of Delhi, India
  • Monash Nova Rover – Monash University, Australia
  • Project Scorpio – Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland
  • QUT Robotics Club – Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • REV Team – University of Western Australia, Australia
  • RMIT Rover Team – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
  • SHUNYA – Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design & Manufacturing in collaboration with Madras Christian College, India
  • Swinburne Rover Team – Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • Team Atlas – Brac University, Bangladesh
  • UniMelb Rover Team – University of Melbourne, Australia
  • UOW Rover Team – University of Wollongong, Australia
  • UQ Space – University of Queensland, Australia
  • UTS Rover Team – University of Technology Sydney, Australia

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