URC2023 News

Team Mountaineers Crowned URC2023 Champion

After 3 days of incredible competition, the 2023 University Rover Challenge (URC2023) crowned a new champion, Team Mountaineers from West Virginia University in the United States! This was the first URC podium finish for Team Mountaineers, and the second consecutive victory by a team from the United States.

Also for the second consecutive year Monash Nova Rover (Monash University, Australia) finished in second place. The BYU Mars Rover team from Brigham Young University (USA) finished in third place.

104 teams from 15 countries began the year competing in URC2023. In March, the top 37 teams were invited to compete in the URC2023 Finals, which concluded June 3, 2023 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. For URC, teams of college students design and build the next generation of Mars rover that will one day work alongside astronauts exploring the Red Planet. Teams and their rovers compete in 4 separate missions (Science, Extreme Delivery, Equipment Servicing, and Autonomous Navigation Missions). Mission scores are combined with scores from an earlier design review for the final standings.

The final scores for all 37 finalists are available at https://urc.marssociety.org/home/about-urc/urc2023-scores.

URC and the Mars Society would also like to thank our incredible sponsors: Protocase, the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, Mastercam, and Astrolab!

The Mars Society Welcomes Astrolab as a Sponsor of 2023 University Rover Challenge

The Mars Society is excited to welcome Astrolab as a sponsor of the 2023 University Rover Challenge!

Venturi Astrolab, Inc. (Astrolab) is on a mission to move humanity forward to the next horizon by designing, building, and operating a fleet of multi-purpose rovers for all planetary surface needs. Formed by a highly specialized team of NASA veterans, former SpaceXers and JPL engineers, Astrolab is laser-focused on providing adaptive mobility solutions essential for life beyond Earth. The team has industry leading experience in terrestrial and planetary robotics, electric vehicles, human spaceflight and more. Astrolab’s depth of experience and strategic partnerships with a wide array of world-class institutions, including electric vehicle pioneer Venturi Group, enables the delivery of Lunar and Mars mobility offerings at maximum reliability, flexibility and cost effectiveness. The company is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. For more information, visit astrolab.space and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram

37 Teams Advance to 2023 University Rover Challenge Finals!

After the most competitive System Acceptance Review in URC history, a record 37 teams from 10 countries will compete at the URC2023 Finals, being held May 31 - June 3, 2023 at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah!

104 teams (also a record) began the year competing for a coveted invitation to the URC Finals. Teams submitted both written reports as well as video demonstrations of their rovers, which were scored by URC's panel of judges. Typically only the top 36 teams will qualify, however the incredibly competitive scores resulted in the judges expanding the field for an additional team in 2023. The University Rover Challenge commends all of the participating teams for their hard work, dedication, and perseverance!

The 37 Finalists will now spend the next two and a half months refining their rovers and conducting advanced testing to prepare themselves for the field competition in one of the most extreme and Mars-like environments on Earth!

Mastercam Returns as Sponsor for 2023 University Rover Challenge (January 2, 2023)

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that Mastercam is returning as a sponsor of the University Rover Challenge for a second year. Mastercam is a CAD/CAM software which is used to translate computer-aided design (CAD) to manufacturing workpieces with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) on your CNC machine. Mastercam offers CAD/CAM software tools for a variety of CNC programming needs, from basic to complex. Due to their innovative, flexible solutions and top notch network of support, their software is a complete solution from the start of design through to manufacturing. Choose Mastercam to streamline your production process from job setup to job completion.

This year Mastercam is sponsoring each team with 10 Education Partner licenses and support. To request your free licenses, please register your team here: https://www.mastercam.com/the-mars-society-rover-challenge/.

If you are interested in how Mastercam can help your team succeed, please take a look at this video created by the Applications Engineers at Mastercam: https://youtu.be/V31lmnNXarY.

Please reach out to Educational.Programs@Mastercam.com with any questions, and best of luck to you and your team!

Protocase Returns as Sponsor for 2023 University Rover Challenge (October 25, 2022)

The Mars Society is proud to welcome Protocase back as a major sponsor of the world-renowned University Rover Challenge!

All over the world, more than 16,000 engineers and designers in science and innovation depend on Protocase for custom-manufacturing electronic enclosures, sheet metal parts, machined parts and components in two to three days, with no minimum orders.

Instead of using critical design time and effort taking off-the-shelf enclosures, parts and components and modifying them to fit your Mars rover design, all teams registered in the 2023 University Rover Challenge can harness Protocase's state-of-the-art manufacturing to get the exact parts they require.

URC2023 Protocase Sponsorship

The Protocase Sponsorship will be similar to the sponsorship offered in previous years:

Check out The Journey of the University Rover Challenge, which documents the experience of URC teams who worked with Protocase.

How Teams Can Work With Protocase

Once a team is registered for the 2023 University Rover Challenge, team leads or other team members can email info@protocase.com to be connected with their designated Protocase account manager.

To learn more about Protocase's custom sheet metal fabrication and CNC Machining, check out the company’s website, Proto Tech Tip videos and blog. Additional details regarding the Protocase manufacturing process and important design guidelines will be available to teams in the coming weeks.

Protocase and URC will also be teaming up again in 2023 to produce a webinar series featuring topics of interest and helpful educational topics related to URC! Stay tuned for more details.

2023 University Rover Challenge Rules Released (September 13, 2022)

The University Rover Challenge is excited to announce the release of the rules for URC2023!

Click here for the URC2023 rules

Registration for the 2023 competition will open on October 1, 2022, and will close on October 26, 2022. All registered teams will be required to submit a Preliminary Design Review package by December 2, 2022, and a System Acceptance Review milestone will follow on March 3, 2023. The top 36 teams will be selected to compete in the 2023 University Rover Challenge Finals, held May 31 - June 3, 2023 at the renowned Mars Desert Research Station.

Teams and rovers will compete in 4 missions in 2023: the Science Mission, Extreme Delivery Mission, Equipment Servicing Mission, and Autonomous Navigation Mission.

It is important to note that URC2023 is being planned and will occur amidst the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. At the time that the rules were published it is uncertain what the state of the pandemic will be in June, 2023 for the URC2023 Finals. While unlikely, it is possible that the URC2023 Finals may need to be modified, or even cancelled, based on conditions at that time. Please note that the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19! This will apply to all attendees of the URC2023 Finals, assuming that they are held. Teams should continue to monitor the URC website (including the COVID-19 page) for updates.