Happy New Year from the NIU Mars Rover Team! As we enter our Spring 2020 semester, we have a few updates on our progress over the break.

Rover Updates

First up is our Science Task, which has seen a finalization on their soil sampling method. We will now be using what is known as an “Archimedes screw”, a design that originates from the technique that farmers use to store grain.  An Archimedes screw is a screw conveyor that carries the material from the ground to the silo with simply an auger and a hollow pipe. The screw conveyor will deploy using a ball bearing carriage and a linear guide rail. Once the carriage is deployed, a motor-controlled spool will pull the conveyor into its original position. You can view some pictures of the new design below. 

In addition to the Science Task, the Computer Science team has a few updates. The NVIDIA Jetson Nanos are now up and running, and we have the last of our sensors. With a new Realsense 2 camera we can now collect IMU data, which we will use with our new LIDAR system for accurate robot localization.

In the coming months, we’ll focus on finishing the Rover’s electrical system, manufacturing the science task, and finalizing our manipulator design. 

Other News

The new NIU Mars Rover website is now live! You can visit us at niurover.com. Future Rover Reports will be posted there as blog posts, as well as being sent out as a newsletter. We are in the process of designing a new t-shirt for fundraising. All students on the team are encouraged to submit a design!

And as always, thank you to our sponsors!