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Team SPAM carries out its rover mission

13 Jul 2017 - 16:30

SpaceLab masters students in team "SPAM" ("Space Pioneers Analysing Mars") carried out their simulated Mars rover mission on Thursday 13 July. The mission was directed by Mr Ewan Reid, President and CEO of Mission Control Services, who played the role of the ground-based flight director. The mission is offered by Mission Control Academy. Mission Control Academy is a simulated rover mission that challenges participants to design and operate a planetary exploration mission, culminating in an opportunity to remotely drive a real rover prototype in a Mars-like environment. The simulation was part of the EEE5141Z Rovers in Exploration course, which was presented by Mr Ewan Reid and Dr Melissa Battler of Mission Control Services, and Dr Phil Janney of the UCT Geosciences Department.

The context of this simulation was that of a crew of human astronauts in orbit around Mars using a rover to explore potential landing sites of scientific interest. The team controlled a rover at the Canadian Space Agency's "Mars Yard" in real time over the Internet to carry out an investigation of several  topographical features in the simulated Mars mission. The team comprised students from Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States. The students selected their scientific targets and planned a route for their rover. They also chose their own complement of sensors for the rover to achieve their scientific objectives.