Science Plan

URC2024 will require a formal Science Plan in addition to a Chemical Safety Plan. Both are due May 17, 2024

Science Plan

Teams shall submit a Science Plan prior to the URC2024 field competition. Science Plan documents must be submitted no later than 11:59pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT; UTC-6) on May 17, 2024.  Science plans will be submitted via this Google Form.

Format and Submission Details

Science Plans are limited to a total of 5 pages (not including cover page, references, and chemical safety plan status question).  Pages should be in letterpaper size (8.5 in. x 11 in.), with margins no smaller than 1 in. (2.5 cm), text in Calibri 11 point font (or similarly sized font), and single spaced.  Electronic submissions are required in *.pdf file format.

References shall be cited on the pertinent page where appropriate.  All content (including, but not limited to, text, images, figures) not created by the submitting team must be credited or cited appropriately. Plagiarism concerns are taken very seriously, and are grounds for disqualification. The reference list does NOT count within the page limit.

Science Plan Content

Cover Page: (Limit 1 page) The cover page shall identify the team name, point of contact, science sub-team members, and an organizational chart showing how the science sub-team interacts with the full team.

The Cover Page must also answer the following:

What is the current status of your Chemical Safety Plan? (Use the following options for your answer)

Basic Knowledge About Mars: (Limit 1 page) For example: geology, regolith chemistry & pH, chemical composition, surface radiation flux and temperatures, why the surface is red, etc.

Background Research: (Limit 1 page) What background work the team has done to generate their knowledge for the science task (articles read, experiments performed, collaborations established and experts consulted). 

Science Payload: (Limit 2 pages) Description of the instruments, and methods, the team has chosen for “on board” rover experimentation at the site. Justification of the methods and the instrumentation should be included.

Answer ONE of the following questions, based on your science knowledge of astrobiology and Mars. (Limit 1 page) Your team can choose any of the questions from the list below.  Answering more than one does not gain you any extra points. Judges will ask you one of these or a similar question in the field science briefing during the Science Mission.  So, have a brief answer for each of these prepared for competition, but only include an answer to one of the questions in the written Science Plan.

Chemical Safety Plan

Submission Instructions

Team must submit their Chemical Safety Plan by email to The subject line of the email must include the Team Name. URC Staff will advise teams if there are any issues that require resolution. Teams will be notified once their plans have been approved.

Submit Early!

Chemicals are only permitted for use if the submitted plan has been approved in advance by judges. Teams should submit their plans as soon as possible to allow time to adjust plans based on feedback from judges. The latest date that plans may be submitted is May 17, 2024.

Requirements for Consideration of Chemical Use at URC

Teams are required to track chemical use "cradle to grave," meaning from the time it is purchased until the time it is properly/safely disposed. The University Rover Challenge Finals take place at a remote field site, and safety response measures are not provided. The University Rover Challenge and the Mars Society are not responsible for the chemical, or its transportation/storage/use/disposal. In addition, this site is an active research area, and any chemical spills could result in contaminated research.

All teams must submit a URC2024 Chemical Safety Plan for approval. Approval of a chemical for one team does not imply approval of a chemical for all teams - this is because we aren't just approving chemicals, we're approving their use and safety plan!

Required Information

Part One

Part Two
The follow information should be in a clearly defined order for each chemical you are bringing to the URC:

Prohibited Chemicals

Any chemical containing mercury is strictly prohibited.

Chemical Check-In at URC Finals

During team check-in on May 29, each team's Chemical Safety Officer will meet with URC Officials to verify that the chemicals transported to URC match the approved Chemical Safety Plan. On the day that your team competes in the Science Mission, the Chemical Safety Officer will conduct a check-in inspection prior to competing in the Science Mission, and a check-out inspection immediately following the mission.

Additional Guidance