A wise man once said, “For what it is worth, I can barely do my math homework but want to see Tufts walk on Mars.” Currently, I’m working, with a team, on a project that involves making a Mars Rover to compete in the University Rover Competition (URC) for Tufts and well… let’s take it back to when we started the project or even more, what the team is. Throughout my freshman year, I’ve been a member or Tufts MAKE and to be honest, I can’t even remember when I signed up. All I know is I’ve been receiving emails but I had never gone to a club meeting up until I heard about the URC. You see, when I think about extracurriculars for engineering, I think about clubs and activities that involve making robots, machines, or any of all that cool stuff. On the surface, though, they're all called “American Society of Mechanical or Civil or Chemical Engineering” which honestly helps with fairs or seminars relating with their respective majors but little with learning about all that cool stuff.
Tufts MAKE, on the other hand, is a club that integrates education with design and fabrication. In short, we just make awesome things in order to get hands-on experience with equipment that are used in engineering. Last semester, we worked on a bike generator made of wood. There were other projects, like one working on an EEG headset, but now, we are working on a Mars rover to compete in the URC.
The University Rover Challenge (URC) by the Mars Society is a robotics competition for university level students to challenge teams to design and build a rover that would be of use to early explorers on Mars. The aim of the University Rover Challenge is to encourage students to develop skills in robotics, improve the state-of-art functions in rovers, and work in multi-disciplinary teams in collaboration between scientists and engineers. The competition takes place at the Mars Desert Research Station and the competing rovers are put to the test by completing a series of challenges in a specific amount of time and the fastest to complete all challenges wins.
Currently, we are just making plans for the rover which we would hopefully end up using to compete in the summer of next year and although we are all caught up with this semester’s academic activities, my teammate recently said, “For what it is worth, I can barely do my math homework, but want to see Tufts walk on Mars”, and that sums up the big dreams we’ve all had in making all that cool stuff.