Welcome to the Fall 2019 Rover Report! This report will provide an overview of important events and achievements taking place in the past few months. In the next semester, The Rover Report will resume as a monthly newsletter. For now, onto the news!

New Membership

First things first, we’ve had changes in membership with semester, beginning with our current executive board. We would like to introduce our new Co-Vice President Nick Rancher, who will work alongside Co-Vice President Clare Keough. We also have our new secretary, Spencer Heckman! Welcome to the executive board!

In addition to new eboard members, general club membership has also seen new faces, as events such as the Involvement Fair in back in August let us reach out to new interested students. Between all of the subteams, the NIU Mars Rover team sees around 25 members currently active.


October was a busy month for our team, with two major events that we had to prepare for. On October 19th, we attended NIU’s STEMFest, where we were able to show off Ad Astra. Similar to last year, we brought cardboard alien necklaces to hand out to kids, but ran out within nearly two hours. They were no less popular this year!

The next weekend was our presentation to ETAS and the CEET Homecoming Tailgate. The ETAS presentation went well, and a huge thank you to ETAS for their donation and continued support for our 2019-2020 goals. After that, the Homecoming Tailgate provided an opportunity show off Ad Astra in action.

Back in November, we also took a visit to our sponsor Spray Systems Co. to present our Rover, and tell Spraying Systems Co. more details about their funding has benefited our club. Thank you to Spraying Systems Co. for your sponsorship, and for the amazing tour of your facilities during our visit.

Rover Updates

As for our Rover, we have some new developments to report. Our Rover now has the ability to recognize and track AR Tags in 3D space using our Realsense 2 camera! We have also purchased two NVIDIA Jetson Nanos to handle our on board computing, a needed upgrade from our previous older model NVIDIA Jetson TX2. We have acquired new ODrive technology which will work along side the Sabertooth boards getting the Rover’s movement in check, we have changed from LIPO Batteries to LiFeP04 batteries for better power out put and stability, also the electrical system is now being set up with better wiring practices. Finalized designs and models have been made for our Manipulator group as well. As the arm, gripper, and science task finalize their designs,some revisions are also being made to our chassis to accommodate.

That brings us to the bulk of our work for winter break: manufacturing. With designs ready to be implemented, we will be taking the next several weeks to manufacture and machine them, so that we can be ready to test our design in the Spring semester.

And as always, thank you to our sponsors!