Students Control VSSEC Mars Rover From a School Classroom

A First - Students Control VSSEC Mars Rover from a School Classroom

After conducting centre-based trials, the Robotic Mission to Mars moved to a school environment. Students from Lalor Secondary College used the upgraded web interface to send commands to the rover at VSSEC and observe the Mars surface through the rovers's cameras. The students found the updated software interesting and were excited to see pictures live from the VSSEC Mars surface.  

The VSSEC Robotic Mission to Mars takes on-line learning to a whole new level of sophistication. It engages students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and promotes the development of 21st skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and analysis, without leaving their school.

After being delivered late 2010, the VSSEC Mars Autonomous Science Laboratory (MASL) has undergone a transformation. The rover now has all the scientific instruments it will need to conduct its mission and send data back to Mission Control for analysis including a robotic arm from Monash University.  

During the integration of the rover control system with the software interface the graphics were also upgraded to enhance their impact. The Lalor students indicated that they liked the new screens and found them easy to use. Trialling will continue and we move toward the official launch of the program in July.