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JPL Invites Students to ‘Reinvent the Wheel’ for Mars Rovers

Published on Monday, June 29, 2020 | 12:30 pm

The planetary explorers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena are inviting students across the nation to design their own versions of wheels to help robotic rovers traverse the Red Planet.

Entries as digital 3-D models are preferred, although students in kindergarten through 5th grade may also submit their ideas as sketches or mockups, according to a statement from organizer Future Engineers, which is sponsored by the ASME Foundation, with technical assistance from NASA.

The MARS 2020 Perseverance Rover, set to launch later this month, rides upon six aluminum wheels specially designed to help it avoid problems like those encountered by previous rovers, according to Future Engineers. The Spirit Rover, for example, became stuck in sand. The Curiosity rover continues rolling along, but its wheels are showing signs of wear.

“Use your creativity to come up with a rover wheel design that you think would best explore Mars,” statement said. Exceptional entries may be featured on a public NASA gallery.

More information on the program for teachers and students is available online at

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