Meeting Mars Rover Manipal
Today, MTTN got a chance to interview one of our institute’s youngest technical teams, Mars Rover Manipal. Having earned immense recognition on an international platform, the team was in quite a jovial mood while displaying their rover model at the Innovation Centre this afternoon.
MTTN: Could you give us an insight into the concept behind Mars Rover Manipal and what it represents?
MRM: We’re a team of passionately innovative undergraduate students whose objective is to design, build and field a next generation assistive ‘Mars Rover’ which would perform a set of tasks as provided under the ‘University Rover Challenge (URC)’ headed under the ‘Mars Society’. Abiding by our motto “Design to Discover”, we aim to be as imaginative and efficient with our designs and iterations of the rovers. Founded in 2014, we have been the only debutants who secured the 13th position in the world in the University Rover Challenge 2016.
MTTN: Tell us about the prototypes and models that your team has worked on, till date.
MRM: Our first rover, Kalam, named after the late former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, is a tribute to him and his excellence. Manufactured in house from scratch, Kalam has made us establish what we are today. Our new iteration is more rugged, structurally sound and smarter, and outperforms the first rover in numerous ways.
MTTN: You guys managed to bag the 13th position in URC, as you just said. Surely must have been a proud feeling, right?
MRM: That feeling is really hard to express in words. We just wanted to make everyone proud, and that includes everyone who helped us out every step of our journey – be it our faculty, our peers. We were able to make our institute and country proud, and that feeling is one that remains unmatched.
MTTN: Describe the atmosphere of the competition.
MRM: It was insane. We made our way to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, USA. Needless to say, we were in harsh environmental conditions, an imitation of Martian climate and our rover did a commendable job in tackling the many tasks given. As debutants, we certainly weren’t expecting to do this well, and being recognized amidst such talented teams was certainly overwhelming.
MTTN: The Nvidia representatives at IC had quite a few amazing things to say about your team.
MRM: We heard. What can we say, we are simply overjoyed.
MTTN: So what lies ahead for your team in the near future?
MRM: We’re planning on launching a new subsystem, ‘Science Cache’, a first of its kind in MIT, for those interested in Biology, Chemistry and Geology. It is not limited just to MIT students, but to every single person in Manipal University, thereby blurring inter-institutional barriers and bringing all of MU under one roof.
As said to Srikriti Dahagam