Science Plan

Chemical Use Approval

Approval is required for any chemicals/reagents other than water intended for use in the Science Mission.

Pre-Approval Form: Teams may submit a pre-approval request to receive early feedback about specific chemicals/reagents. Pre-approval does not constitute final approval for use at URC2023, however it is an indication that final approval is likely if the team submits a suitable plan of usage, transportation, and safety precautions (final safety plans requiring approval will be submitted in April, 2023).

Pre-Approval List: As chemicals are submitted and evaluated, a common list will be maintained for teams to reference (this page will be updated with a link to that list once available). Note that final approvals will be granted on a team-by-team basis, and approval is subject to each team having an appropriate plan for transportation, usage, safety, and disposal.

Final Approval: A final approval form will be available on this page in April, 2023.

Important Note: Each team is 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.

URC2023 Science Plan Requirements Coming Soon!

Note that these are the requirements for URC2022. The URC2023 requirements will be similar in scope, and will be released soon!

Science Plan

Teams shall submit a Science Plan prior to the URC2022 Finals. Science Plan documents must be submitted no later than 11:59pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT; UTC-6) on May 21, 2022. Science plans must be submitted through a form that will be posted in May, 2022.

Format and Submission Details

Science Plans are limited to a total of 5 pages (not including cover page). Pages should be in letter paper 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 formats.

Science Plan Content

Cover 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 interacted with the full team.

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

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. LIMIT 2 pages.

List and describe previously flown (on a Mars mission) life detection experiments/ instruments and the results of these experiments. LIMIT 1 page

Answer ONE of the following questions, based on your science knowledge of astrobiology and Mars. Your team can choose any of the questions from the list below. LIMIT 1 page.

(Answering more than one does not gain you any extra points. We will ask you one of these or a similar question in the science briefing.)

1. Why was Jezero Crater selected as the Mars2020 landing site?

2. Which instruments or methods would your team choose for an ideal life-detection suite for Mars and which place on Mars would you want to land? (Given no limitation in funding, landing sites, or data rate back to Earth).

3. What are the known survival limits for halophiles?

4. Name one way meteorites influence the field of astrobiology?

5. What is the difference in habitability investigations and life detection investigations?

6. Provide an example of each and describe the difference between extant and extinct life?

7. Has life been found on Mars?

References shall be cited on the pertinent page where appropriate. All content (including, but not limited to, text, images, video, and audio) not created by the submitting team must be credited or cited appropriately. Plagiarism concerns are taken very seriously, and are grounds for disqualification.

Important Note on Hazardous Chemicals:

A safety plan for the use of any hazardous chemical shall be included as an appendix to the science plan if such chemicals are planned for use. Judges reserve the right to reject the use of such chemicals/methods. Teams are neither expected nor required to complete any portion of their analysis/experimentation using hazardous chemicals. In general, the use of such chemicals is strongly discouraged due to safety issues:

- Teams traveling internationally should not attempt to transport hazardous chemicals;

- Neither MDRS nor Hanksville have suitable storage or disposal facilities;

- In the event of an emergency, major medical facilities are not close by.