To celebrate National Science Week 2018, Nova Rover Team attended a breakfast with Australian NASA exoplanet astrophysicist Dr Jessie Christiansen. Jessie spoke to us about her incredible contributions cataloguing exoplanets found with the Kepler Space Telescope, and her upcoming work with NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Our science team lead Daniel Ricardo participated in a panel discussion at the Royal Society of Victoria alongside Dr Rebecca Allen, Evie Kendal, Julia Mitchell and Monash's own Dr Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway. The panel discussed complex topics including the future of space travel, the importance of becoming a multi-planetary species and the implications and opportunities for exploring new worlds. The panel also spoke about how our incredible technological advancements in space exploration can be used back on Earth to benefit us all.
Finally, we were also featured in Channnel 10's kids science show Scope! Joel Kuper and Daniel Ricardo showed off our Mars rover to get younger generations excited about space, Mars and engineering in season 4, episode 64.
With the University Rover Challenge 2018 in the rearview mirror, we've been exploring new innovations for our 2019 rover. After a few weeks of research, we produced a 3D printed six wheeled rover chassis, similar to that of the NASA Mars Curiosity rover, which has been successful at traversing obstacles although at low speeds. We've also researched new options to replace our current wheels with low pressure, light weight balloon wheels. Our software team has began development of higher bandwidth radio communications allowing for more cameras, a graphical user interface, a radio monitoring program and a camera manager. Finally, our science team have begun research and development of a new soil sampling and in-situ life detection device.
As for our past rover, we are not quite done with it yet. The 2018 rover has been revived and will be utilised for educational and exhibition purposes at schools and public events such as Scienceworks Astrolight festival. We plan to demonstrate its capabilities and innovation to inspire future students to study STEM at university.
At Monash University Clayton Open Day 2018, we opened our doors to the public. The team had a fantastic day demonstrating the robotic arm, providing tours of the workshop, showing people our Mars rover and chatting about our incredible time overseas at the University Rover Challenge in Utah. We also showed off our preliminary designs for our 2019 rover and gave courageous people a chance to control our mini robot arm.