CORVALLIS, Ore. - Mechanical engineering students at Oregon State University will demonstrate on Thursday, Dec. 4, robot prototypes that will simulate retrieving and transporting rocks on Mars.

The event will be at 6 p.m. in Milam Auditorium on the OSU campus, and is free and open to the public. K-12 students and their families are encouraged to attend.

This competition, which is part of an introductory design class, allows students to design and build a robot that can maneuver through an obstacle course to retrieve simulated Martian rocks and transport them back to the starting area within four minutes. Student teams will try to collect the most rocks and place them accurately in a collection area.

The goal of the design class, educators say, is to introduce the product design process, as well as ideas of cost, schedule, engineering theory and use of mathematics. One of the course instructors, associate professor Irem Tumer, spent 10 years at the NASA Ames Research Center, and has extensive experience with electro-mechanical robots such as the Mars Rover.

The team that demonstrates the best design at the OSU event has the opportunity to move on to regional, and possibly international, competitions sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


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