Broadcast 2257 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

06 Jun 2014 Kevin Sloan
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Guest: Kevin Sloan. Topics: 2014 Mars Society University Rover Challenge. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed Kevin Sloan back to the program to discuss the 8th year of competition for the Mars Society University Rover Challenge. During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Kevin said that the 2014 completion was the biggest ever with 31 teams of which 23 made it to Hanksville, UT for the competition. He noted that the competition takes place in the Utah desert near MDRS and Hanksville, Utah. Kevin went over the rules and guidelines during this segment, the financial limits on the rover teams, the tasks the rovers had to do, especially in comparison to last year's competition, the way the rovers have to be driven by their team driver, and what happens if a team has to physically intervene to resolve a rover problem once the rover has started its mission. We did talk about the international makeup of the teams, including this year having a team from Bangladesh and Cairo. Also, the same team from Poland as last year, Hyperion, won first place this year as well. You can see the list of winners by visiting and looking at the congratulations box on the home page. Kevin talked about the global interest in robotics and the way the competition has grown over its 8 year history. Doug called in asking lots of questions but he also wanted to know about the prizes and if the prizes served as the incentive to enter the contest. In this discussion we talked about the importance of STEM & Kevin described in details the tasks the rovers had to complete and how they were scored. In the second segment, we talked more about what happens with a breakdown and I asked if any teams complete the tasks without a breakdown. We also talked about the availability of spare parts out in the desert, then Sally asked about the team demographics and diversity. More questions came in about repairs, then Kevin was asked about the desert terrain. He said it differs each year depending on rain and weather. This year the desert sand was very course and rough on the rovers, probably because of the large amounts of rain in the area during the year. A question came in asking if the rovers had to be Mars compatible, what kind of wheels or tires they used, and if there was common frame or other technology among all the rovers. Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. You can reach Kevin through me.



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