A human-powered rover developed for manned explorations on the Moon and Mars by students at BITS Pilani has bagged the top prize in NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge (HERC), according to officials.

Sudhirkumar Barai, Director, BITS Pilani at the Pilani campus in Rajasthan said the event was held at NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

The competition’s goal was to create a human-powered Mars Rover capable of navigating a difficult and harsh obstacle course meticulously built to resemble Martian terrain. This included designing the rover from the ground up, simulating and verifying the designs, manufacturing the theoretical designs, testing the manufactured rover, obtaining funds for manufacturing, transportation and logistical support,” Barai said.

The team “Inspired Karters Gravity” secured the top position for the Project Review Award at the competition.

“The team’s rover “G-Rover lll” stood out from the competition due to a few distinctive features like generative design, 3-D printed wheels, electronically-actuated steering system, leaning suspension setup and 3-wheeled aluminium chassis,” he added.