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Winners of the 2017 Exo-RO National Rover Competition

on 29 November 2017

The jury of the 2017 Exo-RO National Rover Competition has selected this year’s winners out of the nine teams of high school students that arrived in the finals. The winning team is Inspiration “Carmen Sylva" – ICS from "Carmen Sylva" Theoretical High School in Eforie Sud. The runner-up is the Highlander team from “Tudor Vianu” Informatics National College in Bucharest and the third place was awarded to Help-R team from ”Mircea cel Batran” National College in Constanta.

The contest was organised by the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), together with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Romania, in partnership with Bacau County Council, and with the support of Targu Ocna Salt Mine and the City Hall of Targu Ocna.

The technical inspection of the rovers took place during the first day when the jury challenged the participants looking at the scientific mission of the rovers and the ingenuity of the projects. During the same day, the teams visited the salt mine.

The following day, all nine teams participated in the field test. They were accompanied by Paxi, the European Space Agency’s mascot. For the field test, each team had 15 minutes to cross the 18 meters long obstacle trail and to execute their chosen secondary scientific mission. The rovers were controlled from the distance with the help of onboard video cameras, with the teams having no direct visual contact with the rover. Two of the teams failed to complete the trail but managed to gather a few atmospheric data to execute part of their secondary mission.

The final presentations of the collected data and the awards ceremony took place on Sunday, 26 November 2017.

The first place was awarded to the team Inspiration “Carmen Sylva" – ICS from "Carmen Sylva" Theoretical High School from Eforie Sud, Constanta county. The secondary mission of the rover was to monitor the environment and to create a 3D map of the site, using the information from the laser sensor controlled by two servomechanisms. The laser was also used in the guiding / controlling process of the rover. The rover was build using mechanic elements from a Tetrix kit. It had advanced suspension systems and was propelled by four engines.

The second place was received by the Highlander team from “Tudor Vianu” Informatics National College in Bucharest. The secondary mission of the team was to check the natural conditions by measuring the temperature, the atmospheric pressure, the radiation, gas and light levels. By doing this, the team tried to determine the quality of life variables in that area. Also, the rover aimed to collect samples made of dust and small rocks using a vacuum system. The rover also had muon sensors. With all this, the team aimed to establish the possibility of the place to sustain life, as well as the possibility and the advantages of mining in that location.

The third place was awarded to the Help-R team from ”Mircea cel Batran” National College in Constanta, Constanta county. This team build a robot that can locate people blocked in a salt mine (Help) and do research (R). The robot was controlled remotely and broadcast video and audio. Its aim was to explore spaces that are hard to access by people, to collect ground samples and measure the chemical and physical parameters of the environment to establish if it can sustain life (water pH, altitude difference, toxic gas/oxygen, radiation and vibrations level). Also, the rover was made to search for humans in difficult conditions, to offer a minimum first aid (medical kid) and to convey data to the command centre, to be further analysed.

The jury included Prof. Gabriel Anastasiu (Campulung Moldovenesc), Ambassador of Space (Suceava county), ESERO Romania collaborator and representative of the pre-university educational body, Prof. Doina Capşa, Physics Professor and local organiser at Grigore Antipa College (Bacau), Prof. Alexandru Iovanovici (Timisoara), representative of the academia, Mrs Ana Naghi, Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Mrs Cristina Stancu (Bucharest), on behalf of ESERO Romania. The evaluation of the teams considered the following criteria: educational value (20%), technical accomplishments (40%), teamwork and presentation of the project (10%) and field test (the track) (40%).

At its second edition, the Exo-RO contest is an activity organised in the collaboration framework between the Ministry of National Education and the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) with the purpose of using the concept “cosmic space” as a creative context for teaching and learning about the fields included in the STEM area in the pre-university educational institutions in Romania.

Image credit: ROSA/vimp

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