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MAVRIC (Mars Analog Vehicle for Robotic Inspection and Construction) is Iowa State University's entry in the annual Mars Society University Rover Challenge. This will be ISU's sixth year of competition. The MAVRIC project is part of the Make to Innovate lab in the Aerospace Engineering department at ISU.  The competition takes place in Hanksville, UT on June 2-4.

The URC consists of four major tasks:
  • Terrain Traversal - Navigate through an obstacle course that will contain an assortment of difficult terrain-related obstacles.  This includes slopes of up to 45°, 0.5m vertical climbs, and 1m vertical drops.
  • Equipment Servicing - Move a fuel tank to a generator and be able to turn it on by pressing buttons, turning valves, and reading an LCD display.
  • Astronaut Assistance -  Deliver tools weighing up to 5 kg (11 lbs) to an area within 3m of a specified GPS coordinates.  Items and delivery location may be as far as 0.8 km from the start gate.
  • Soil Sampling - Take a soil sample and use onboard sensors to determine moisture content, pH, and probe the temperature 10 cm underground.  Then we must take a panoramic shot of the sample site and geo-tag it.  We must also bring at least one soil sample back to the base station for further testing.
If we progress to the semi-finals of the competition, we will have to do a combination of these tasks in one run.
Picture of our rover on a fake rock. Photo credit: Max Goldberg