U of S students working on Mars rover at Spectrum 2019

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U of S students working on Mars rover at Spectrum 2019
WATCH: The U of S 2019 Mars rover was created by students from the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST) – Jan 13, 2019

The University of Saskatchewan had over 1,000 visitors on Saturday for Cameco Spectrum 2019.

Students in science and engineering are showcasing different scientific concepts and innovations over the four-day event, including a rover built to travel on Mars.

The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (U.S.S.T.) has been working on evolving their rover model over the past five years.

They have their current model on display at the event. U.S.S.T. president Danno Peters said they are eager to share their passion for space innovation with the public.

“Our new rover is almost a 100 per cent Kevlar and carbon fibre which is a big change for our team,” he said. “We are going to be training all of our members on it with virtual reality and 3D cameras. We control it all with Oculus Rift and an Xbox controller.”

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Using a 3D printer, the team has been able to make critical changes to their 2018 Mars rover. Peters said they are upgrading the electrical, radio and camera systems on the 2019 model.

“It’s a lot of fun to drive,” he said. “It’s really changing what Mars rovers are, we are changing from a scientific rover slowly going around Mars to a really fast rover that can help humans and build the planet.”

The 2019 model can reach speeds up to 40 km/h. U.S.S.T. will be competing at the University Rover Challenge this June in Utah and the Canadian Rover Challenge in August.

“We’re hoping to do quite well,” he said. “Last year at the University Rover Challenge, 98 teams entered. We’re competing against Ivy League university’s teams from Harvard and MIT.”

Spectrum 2019 promotes the sharing of science and technology targeting all ages. Gillian Leach, coordinator of Cameco Spectrum 2019, said they want to encourage the next generation to explore and learn

“Everything single one of our displays has some sort of interactive piece,” she said.  “The Mars rovers that people can drive, lab equipment you can turn on and see how it works.”

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The doors will be open Sunday for the final day of the event from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a schedule of events on Cameco Spectrum’s website.

Watch: Mars rovers from Saskatchewan and beyond

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