Yale Engineering Students Build a Mars Rover

Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
EngineeringEarth Science
Open Access
Raised of $2,000 Goal
Ended on 3/20/15
Campaign Ended
  • $114
  • 6%
  • Finished
    on 3/20/15

About This Project

We're building a Mars Rover to compete at the University Rover Challenge this summer. As one of the smallest teams at the competition, we're writing all original software, creating our own PCB's, and machining our own parts.

In our inaugural year last June, we finished 14th out of 31 teams from across the world. In our second year, we are looking to improve our performance. We take pride in our work and want you to be a part of it too!

Ask the Scientists

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What is the context of this research?

YURA is composed of four technical teams- Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Earth Science- which work together to complete a fully functioning Mars- style Rover. The URC consists of five competition tasks for the rover: terrain traversal, astronaut assistance, soil sampling, equipment servicing, and a technical presentation.

There are dozens of teams from the US and as well as many international competitors, including several well-prepared Polish teams that have taken the title several times in previous years. Our strengths lie in the soil sampling, technical presentation and astronaut assistance tasks. This year, we want to iterate over what we have done and ascend the rankings to come out at the top of the competition and we need your help to do it!

What is the significance of this project?

Getting involved with YURA as a sponsor is beneficial for both corporate and individual donors. As a corporation, your logo can be proudly displayed on our finished rover, as well as gain a foothold in recruiting some of the country's top technical talent. Additionally, we give preferential treatment to sponsors when considering where to purchase necessary equipment.

As an individual sponsor, you are critical in furthering the extracurricular education of a committed group of students. You will be kept in the loop with updates from our team as we gear up for next summer's URC. Additionally, we welcome any back-and-forth communication you might want to engage in, whether it's advising or you're just curious about how we are approaching a problem, we'd love to hear it!

What are the goals of the project?

Our goal is to build a fully functional Mars- style Rover, and improve on last year's performance at the URC. Placing 14th in our first year was a success, however, we believe that we can vastly improve on our performance this year. With a mandated cap of $15,000 for Rover parts, as well as funding travel, your donation is absolutely critical to our success. Additionally, we were previously the smallest team at the competition because we could not previously afford to have a substantial number of team members travel. Our view is that so many people make this project possible, so we want to allow them all to be there to support and rally behind our Rover. Through iterating over previous designs and countless hours in the workshop, we want to come out on top!


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Funding is imperative to start construction of the rover and testing of scientific equipment. Without the necessary starting budget, we will not be able to make sufficient progress on the rover to complete it in time for the competition. With your help, we can achieve our goals for the year!

Meet the Team

Yale Undergraduate Rover Association
Yale Undergraduate Rover Association

Team Bio

Co-Presidents of YURA

Brian Clark is an Electrical Engineering major and a member of Ezra Stiles College, class of 2016. His past experience includes both design and management of robotics projects. He looks forward to incorporating a wide array of engineering disciplines into this year's rover and improving on last year's design.

Ashton Wackym is an Electrical Engineering and Economics double major and a member of Saybrook College, class of 2016. Ashton traveled to the URC competition last year and piloted the rover through a series of challenges. He is committed to improving the software and electrical systems of the rover from 2014 for the 2015 URC competition in Hanksville, UT.

Head of Mechanical Engineering

Patrick Wilczynski is a Mechanical Engineering major and a member of Calhoun College, class of 2016. He has many years of experience in design and fabrication of diverse engineering projects, ranging from robotics to rockets.

Head of Earth Science

Alex Goss is a Chemistry Major and following the Pre-Med path. He is a member of Timothy Dwight College, class of 2017. Along with Brian and Ashton, Alex traveled to the URC competition last year.

Head of Finance

Brian Hogan is an Economics and Mathematics major and a member of Davenport College, class of 2016. He is responsible for managing all of the team's money, and so frequently coordinates with the engineers of the group. Brian is also a member of the Earth Science Subteam.

Additional Information

Brain Clark and Alex Goss at the URC 2014

2014 Rover competing in the URC in Hanksville, UT.

Project Backers

  • 6Backers
  • 6%Funded
  • $114Total Donations
  • $19.00Average Donation
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