19 July 2022

University of Sheffield students build mars rover and reach international final

A group of students from the University of Sheffield are the only team from the UK to qualify for the finals of an international competition in Turkey to build a mars rover.

The mars rover on the floor of an engineering workshop in Sheffield
  • A group of Sheffield engineering students have qualified for an international competition to build a mars rover
  • They are the only UK team to make it to the finals
  • The competition will take place in Istanbul 22nd to 25th of July

A group of students from the University of Sheffield are the only team from the UK to qualify for the finals of an international competition in Turkey to build a mars rover.

The student-led team, MarsWorks, will be travelling from the UK all the way to Istanbul in July for the Anatolian Rover Challenge.

They are one of 14 teams from around the world who have made it to the finals, after successfully passing the design report stage.

The team, from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, started the academic year with just four project members and had to completely rebuild the team and redesign the rover they had built two years ago.

MarsWorks is made up of five sub-teams including Electrical, Mechanical, Software, Operations (non-technical) and Development, each with a sub-team leader.

The team has started generating their own funds and the development sub-team built a small version of the rover to take to school visits, as part of outreach activities to encourage more young people in the South Yorkshire region to consider a career in engineering.

MarsWorks have also recently become the founding member of the Sheffield Space Initiative (SSI) society, bringing together all space-oriented, student-led projects at the University, such as student teams who build rockets, satellites to measure deforestation rates and solar telescopes. 

Anna Pawinska, a Civil and Structural Engineering student, Project Leader and Operations sub-team Leader said: “I’m super proud of everyone and excited to be competing. It’s an incredible achievement for us seeing as the project stood still for the past two years, due to Covid, and now our design report is scoring the highest out of all participants.

“We’re honoured to be the only UK team and we’re sure we can make the University, and the country, proud with our performance. We feel extremely motivated to do well.

“It’s definitely been an unforgettable experience and a big learning opportunity. I got to meet a lot of people I probably would have never met if it wasn’t for MarsWorks and I’m extremely grateful for that.

“I think the biggest strength of MarsWorks is in its structure and how diverse the team is. We have a lot of international students on the team all with completely different skillsets and experiences.

“Naturally, I’m very excited about competing and seeing our rover perform. It’s an honour to represent the University of Sheffield in an international arena. I have no doubt that attending ARC will be a fantastic networking opportunity as well. Getting the chance to meet students from universities across the world and learn about their experiences will be invaluable.”

Students from the MarsWorks team in a group photo

Reuben Mitchell, co-Project-Leader and Development sub-team Leader, said: “I'm very excited to be representing the University of Sheffield at the competition later this month. There have been many students who have sacrificed their spare time this year to work on designing, manufacturing and programming the rover and they deserve to have their hard work displayed on a big platform. It's been an honour to lead the team this year and I'm already looking forward to improving the design next year based on the performance in Istanbul.”

Professor Viktor Fedun, Academic Advisor for MarsWorks, from the University’s Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, said: “I am so proud of the team. It is not a surprise that their design report placed first and that they have made it to the finals. They are a solid team with excellent knowledge. Although it is complex work, they’re all smart enough and mature enough to solve problems as they appear and I’m sure they will do exceptionally well when we go to Istanbul.”

Pete Mylon, Senior University Teacher and Academic Lead for the iForge makerspace and Student-Led Activities in Engineering at the University, said: "I'm delighted that the MarsWorks team have qualified for the Anatolian Rover Challenge, building on their previous success at the European Rover Challenge. Anna and the team have worked really hard to rebuild since Covid and I'm sure they will represent the University brilliantly.

“This is an example of the many fantastic student-led projects in Engineering that are making Sheffield the university of choice for those seeking practical Engineering education and hands-on making experiences."

The competition, which has been organised by the Space Exploration Society (UKET) will be held at the Istanbul Technical University Campus between the 22nd and 25th of July.

To find out more about the MarsWorks team and follow them throughout the finals, visit their social media channels: 

Instagram - @project_marsworks

Facebook - Project MarsWorks 

More details on the Sheffield Space Initiative at the University.

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