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Mars Rover

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

We have exciting news to share. A short time ago the New York Hall of Science contacted us. They have a large and beautiful Mars exhibit, but their existing robot is outdated and needs to be replaced. After some discussion about their requirements, the girls and I agreed to build them a brand new, state-of-the-art Mars Rover robot for their exhibit. You may have noticed that we’ve been chronicling our work on the new rover in our Workshop Blog for the last several weeks. The girls have done most of the metal machining, mechanical assembly, electrical soldering, electronics wiring, and other work on the project. They will also be part of the on-site testing and installation in New York. Update: We installed the Mars Rover at the New York Hall of Science on June 8. It has been a great success so far.

SCROLL DOWN FOR PICTURES AND A VIDEO.

The Mars Rover is constructed of over 700 electrical components, aluminum parts, and other pieces that we purchase, make by hand, and/or machine on our homemade CNC Mill. In addition to the NASA-style six-wheeled rocker-bogie suspension system and the solar panels, the new Mars Rover is equipped with an infrared camera, a thermal array sensor, eight sonar sensors, and other technology. Using special control software that we will provide, kids and other visitors to the center will drive the Mars Rover remotely through the exhibit’s Mars-scape on a mission to find infrared-emitting rocks that may provide evidence of past life on Mars.

With over 450 interactive exhibits, the New York Hall of Science is the largest collection of hands-on science and technology exhibits in the New York City area, and rated as one of the best science centers in the country. They are actively involved in pioneering the Design/Make/Play revolution. Built initially as a pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science is not only the region’s premier science museum, it hosts the world-renown New York Maker Faire each fall. We are honored to be working with the NYSCI and we’ve been having great fun (and many hours of hard work) building what we hope will be an excellent robot for them.

 

 

Here are the girls with the partially completed Mars Rover.

The girls in their NYSCI Design/Make/Play t-shirts with the partially completed Mars Rover.

 

Beatty Robotics: The dad and daughter team with the partially completed Mars Rover.

Beatty Robotics: The dad and daughter team.

 

The girls in the workshop.

The girls in the workshop.

 

Mars Rover - Top Corner View

Mars Rover – Top Corner View

 

Mars Rover - Front View

Mars Rover – Front View

 

Mars Rover - Side View

Mars Rover – Side View

 

Mars Rover - Rear View

Mars Rover – Rear View

 

Here is the original motion test video we took when we first completed the robot. Most of this footage is already in the compilation video that is provided above.

 

The New York Hall of Science put together a wonderful video interview featuring Camille (a.k.a. Lunamoth).  A detailed report of the project also appeared on the Sparkfun homepage.  Our Mars Rover was featured on Good Morning America Live

 

Comments (22)

  1. Roel
    April 10th, 2013

    Congratulations, guy & girls! Excellent job!

  2. Melissa
    April 12th, 2013

    Outstanding!

  3. Geralyn
    April 12th, 2013

    This is so impressive. Great work!

  4. Robert Beatty
    April 12th, 2013

    Thanks for the encouraging comments! :)

  5. Brett
    April 18th, 2013

    This takes the concept of “time spent with the family” to great new heights!

    Incredible work with the Rover!!

  6. Benjamin and Dad
    May 1st, 2013

    We love your Mars Rover! We would like to do similar stuff with my dad, congratulations from Chile!

  7. Machine27
    May 27th, 2013

    Amazing work! I love that the kids are involved!
    Would you mind giving me some details on the wheels you used?
    Also, I’m guessing many of the mechanical components came from ServoCity, do you have any parts lists you can share so I can possibly duplicate a rover for myself?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Robert Beatty
    May 27th, 2013

    Thanks, Machine27! We appreciate it. There are over 750 parts in this version of the Mars Rover. For the wheels, we’re using 12 AndyMark 4″ Performance wheels. Two 1″ wide wheels are screwed together onto a Banebots hex hub to make a single 2″ wide wheel, with two roughtop treads, which gives it a cool look. We had to modify the wheels (drilling out various holes, tapping in threads, etc.) in order to make it work.

  9. Machine27
    June 1st, 2013

    I’ve been studying your pictures and trying to figure out which servos you used. Would you mind telling me?
    Any chance of you posting a parts list for those of us who would like to dupicate what you’ve built?
    Again, Awesome work!

  10. Renat
    June 25th, 2013

    It’s a nice robot, I’m impressed :)

  11. Davide Coppola
    July 25th, 2013

    Your project has been featured in the article: “20 Arduino projects of 2013″

    http://www.nudatech.com/blog/20-arduino-projects-of-2013/

  12. Robert Beatty
    July 25th, 2013

    Cool. Thanks for letting us know.

  13. Mike
    August 2nd, 2013

    Congratulations on your accomplishments ladies! You have a great future ahead of you. And dad, you must be very proud. :)

  14. Fahd Shakir
    August 6th, 2013

    Fantastic work. I am incredibly jealous, as I imagine pretty much everybody is. Really great to see.

  15. Chris
    August 9th, 2013

    Awesome job, I have wanted to build a rover for a while and this has encouraged me to give it a try… Wonder if my girls will be as interested in working on it as yours…

    Look forward to seeing what else you produce, may be one day one could travel beyond the Earth.

  16. joedart
    August 9th, 2013

    Robert
    I have been experimenting with a robot arm that can be operated by anyone over the web. I believe the notion of operating real-world robots online has a big future in both education and recreation. One of the first things that came to mind was the mars lander that would allow students to simulate exploration experiments using a physically real rover that would carry out their projects and would be visible (after an appropriate communication delay) online. Is this of any interest to you?

  17. Robert Law
    December 2nd, 2013

    I just saw your Mars rover well done that is Fantastic !!!!!!!!!!!!

    best wishes from Scotland

    Robert

  18. isokar
    January 30th, 2014

    Hi there,
    very nice work
    i was wondering was you were using the green laser in the front?
    is this an obstacle detection system?

    Isokar

  19. admin
    January 30th, 2014

    Isokar: Thank you. That is indeed a green laser. Its primary purpose is to visibly show where the thermopile array sensor is pointed. The sensor senses 8 temperatures out in front of the rover. The direction and width of the laser light (which we mounted with a 38-degree line generating lens on it) shows exactly where it’s pointed and what temperatures it’s getting (which rocks in the exhibit, etc.). We set it up this way because without it we were having difficulty knowing what temperatures the sensor was reading. We turn the laser on whenever the rover moves and collects data.
    —Robert

  20. Al B
    March 29th, 2014

    Nice work and thank you for sharing! Your work inspired my kids to build something similar. However, time and budget was a constraint so we had to scale down. Here is the preliminary result:

    http://youtu.be/vkvkfcqEUkk

    Thanks again, and best regards!

  21. Robert
    March 29th, 2014

    Al and kids: I love your robot! Excellent work! I love the behavior of your robot, how it chases the ball and goes around obstacles. Very cool. :)

  22. Robots and Rovers | ServoCity Blog
    May 9th, 2014

    […] here to see videos of the rover in […]

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