ROADS News for Crews, April 28 — Submissions DUE!

G’day, ROADS crews!

We’re approaching the end of our mission — your final submissions are DUE APRIL 30.  That’s this Friday!

Remember that your submission will include the following materials (please read the complete instructions on the final submissions web page):

  1. Mission Development Log (MDL)
  2. Mission video
  3. Scoresheet

We’ve had a few questions about the scoresheet, so here are some tips:

  • Use the tab called “Challenge Scoresheet” (ignore all other tabs).
  • Add your team’s number and name in the cells at the top.
  • Each score-able item has a drop-down list.  Select one of the items on the drop-down to enter the score.

(More instructions and tips can be found on the following webpage: How to complete the ROADS on Asteroids scoresheet for challenge submissions)

But don’t stress too much about the scoresheet!  Our judges use it as a double-check when scoring your MDL and video, so we do need to have it and it truly is helpful, but it is definitely not the final say on your team’s score.

If you have questions, please drop us an email.  We’ll be available to provide answers on final submissions up until 5 p.m. in Seattle, WA, (Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, April 30.

Do your best and good luck!  And remember, if all else fails — wing it like Winglee.

ROADS News for Crews, March 30 — Final deadline adjusted

G’day, ROADS crews!

We have good news for you!

Final submissions — NOW DUE April 30, 2021
We weren’t giving you enough time to finalize your submissions, and so we’ve pushed out the deadline to Friday, April 30, 2021.  Thank you to everyone who wrote in about it!

The submissions portal will be open later this week.

Reminder: Chat with an expert — Thursday, April 1, 2021
How do scientists study asteroids? Join us to chat with NASA scientist Nicole Lunning to learn about exciting missions to asteroids (OSIRIS-REx, Dawn & more!) and how scientists investigate samples returned by spacecraft as well as meteorites in laboratories at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

This chat will be a Zoom webinar. You do not need to be registered with Zoom to join us — you can select “Join from browser” from the loading screen.

ROADS News for Crews, March 28 — Chat with an Expert “Investigating Asteroids”

G’day, ROADS crews!

We have an expert chat coming up that you will not want to miss — it’s all about how scientists study asteroids!  Hope to see you on Thursday, April 1.

Chat with an expert — Thursday, April 1, 2021
How do scientists study asteroids? Join us to chat with NASA scientist Nicole Lunning to learn about exciting missions to asteroids (OSIRIS-REx, Dawn & more!) and how scientists investigate samples returned by spacecraft as well as meteorites in laboratories at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

This chat will be a Zoom webinar. You do not need to be registered with Zoom to join us — you can select “Join from browser” from the loading screen.

Checkpoint challenges — Scoring will wrap up soon!
Thank you for all of your amazing submissions for the checkpoint challenges!  We will wrap up scoring soon.  Keep an eye out for prize announcements.

Final submissions — Submissions portal opening this week
Materials for your final submissions for ROADS on Asteroids will be due on Saturday, April 10, 2021.  The submission portal will open this week — when it’s ready, we’ll email you with details.

ROADS “Meet an Expert” — Investigating asteroids with Nicole Lunning (April 1, 2021) 🗓

How do scientists study asteroids? On April 1, 2021, NASA scientist Nicole Lunning joined us to chat about exciting missions to asteroids (OSIRIS-REx, Dawn & more!) and how scientists investigate samples returned by spacecraft as well as meteorites in laboratories at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

About Nicole

Dr. Nicole Lunning is the carbonaceous asteroid curator and deputy OSIRIS-REx curator within the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division of NASA Johnson Space Center. Nicole started at NASA in March of 2020 shortly after returning from collecting meteorites in Antarctica as part of 2019-2020 field team of the US-based Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET). Prior to working at NASA, Nicole had postdoctoral positions at Rutgers University and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where she studied meteorites from the asteroid belt and the Moon, as well as conducting melting experiments to understand how early small planet-like bodies formed. Nicole earned her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2015 — her dissertation was on meteorites thought to have originated from Vesta and meteorites that we think are similar to rocks from asteroids Bennu and Ryugu.

Dr. Nicole Lunning holds a piece of meteorite. She is a white women with brown hair (pulled back) wearing a blue turtleneck under a blue cardigan sweater. A small chunk of grey-colored meteorite rests in her blue-glove-covered hands.
Dr. Nicole Lunning displays a piece of meteorite.

ROADS News for Crews, Feb. 22 — Checkpoint Challenges final extension!

G’day, ROADS crews!

Thank you all for your patience and your kind emails as our office moved forward after Dr. Winglee’s death.  Our ROADS this year may have gotten off to a bumpy start, but we know that Robert would have been so pleased to see all of you continuing on with meeting your Mission Objectives.

We are holding open our Checkpoint Challenge submissions portals for just a few more days to make sure all teams have had a chance to upload their materials.  You can find links to each Checkpoint Challenge’s page here:
https://nwessp.org/asteroids/submissions/

For Checkpoint Challenge numbers 1 and 2, remember that you’re creating a video where you’ll show your experimentation and discuss your team’s processes and findings.  That’s it!  No supplemental material needed.

For Checkpoint Challenge #3, you’ll be creating an image of your team’s mission patch and providing a short, written explanation of the patch’s design.  You can combine these into one single document, or you can upload them as two separate pieces — one an image of the patch and one a written document of your patch’s explanation.

Deadline — Thursday, February 25, 2021
We will keep the submissions portals open through Thursday night, but on Friday we’ll collate submissions for all the checkpoints and send them off to our judges for scoring.

Top teams in NASA-sponsored challenge make their own Mars landing

By Chris Wallish
Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline

As NASA and space enthusiasts around the world prepare for the Perseverance rover’s landing on Mars this week, seven student teams from across the U.S. have achieved their own impressive mission success — in ROADS on Mars, the 2019–2020 NASA National Student Challenge.

The Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP), the program behind the ROADS student challenges, is excited to announce the following four teams that achieved top prizes:

Top Teams

  • Ares Bobcats — A Curiosity Division (high school) team from the Cienega Astronomy STEM Club in Vail, Arizona
  • The New von Brauns — A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Idaho
  • Lunar Ladies — A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Gardiner Middle School in Oregon City, Oregon
  • Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorer — An Opportunity Division (middle school) team from Sunray Middle School in Sunray, Texas

NESSP also recognized three teams for overall mission excellence:

Mission Excellence

  • Kerbal Krew — A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Spearfish Robotics Club in Spearfish, South Dakota
  • DAB’EM — An Opportunity Division (middle school) team from Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, Washington
  • Lil Einsteins — A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Western Aerospace Scholars in Spokane Valley, Washington

Top Teams teams received trophies commemorating their achievements, and all awarded teams received official NASA certificates, with additional prizes and recognition coming this spring. Other teams were recognized for excellence at various mini-challenges ranging from searching for signs of life in their communities to designing a mission patch for their team.  A complete list of winners can be found at: nwessp.org/mars/topteams

“We are so inspired by the students who persevered to complete the ROADS on Mars Challenge during this difficult year,” said Mary Denmon, NESSP acting director. “It took a lot of hard work and team effort to complete their mission for ROADS on Mars.  I hope we see these students continue on with the skills they’ve learned and continue to contribute to NASA endeavors.”

The ROADS on Mars challenge, which kicked off in autumn 2019, followed in the mission steps of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Like Perseverance, the ROADS challenge incorporated biological and geological concepts, such as identifying biosignatures (signs of life invisible to the human eye) and investigating both how craters are formed and the effects of erosion on a landscape.

The challenge was to culminate with in-person final events around the country in April, but things took a turn for the virtual as shelter-in-place orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 began affecting communities and schools. In summer 2020, NESSP implemented a strategy for teams to complete the last activities of the challenge remotely and began accepting video submissions.  Ultimately, 27 teams were able to complete the challenge and submit final materials.

Reflecting on the difficulty of missions to Mars, Kristen Erickson, NASA Science Engagement and Partnership Director, said: “We can’t predict today how the landing will go tomorrow, but we have prepared as much as we know how — just like students did in their Mars challenges.  If we are successful tomorrow, our ROADS teams will have an appreciation for the hard work that goes into such an endeavor because they did it too!”

###

More information is at https://nwessp.org/mars/.

Members of the media can contact communications officer Chris Wallish at 206-221-7743 or cwallish@uw.edu.

ROADS on Mars mini-challenge winners — Mission Patch

We are very pleased to announce the prize-winning teams of the Mission Patch mini-challenge. This goal of this challenge was:

To get creative and design a mission patch that represents themselves, their community, and their mission in the ROADS Challenge.

Congratulations, ROADS teams!!

Idaho

TS River City Team — an Opportunity division team from University of Idaho TRIO in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Our patch is designed to reflect three things: who we are, what our goal is, and where we come from. In our community we are the River City Titans, so we wanted to tie our name into that and we decided that our team name would be Titans’ Journey to Mars or TJTM for short. The lego spaceman on Mars is centered around the overall mission of making it to and exploring MARS! Lastly, the world in the background reminds us that we come from another planet. Earth is our home.

Nevada

Golden Space Knights — An Opportunity division team from Hyde Park Middle School in Las Vegas, NV.

The base structure is made of a knight’s helmet, derived from the team’s name, Golden Space Knights. In the bottom portion of the helmet is a Desert Bighorn Sheep, Nevada’s state animal, gazing up at the sky. This symbolizes our community’s support for future expansion into space. Notice how a rocket, similar to the ones that have carried previous rovers, is soaring above the sky. This represents our mission to reach Mars to search for evidence of previous life.

Oregon

Spatium Apes — A Spirit division team from Gervais Elementary School in Gervais, OR.

Science Rovers — An Opportunity division team from Clackamas ESD in Clackamas, OR.

Helios — A Curiosity division team from South Eugene High School in Eugene, OR.

Texas

Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorer — An Opportunity division team from Sunray Middle School in Sunray, TX.

The Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorers are busy preparing for their ROADS on Mars 2020 Mission. SBAX designed their patch to represent the important factors of our school. Our school colors are royal blue, or as we call it “Bobcat Blue”, and gold. We put the outer perimeter our school colors with our names, logo “SBAX”, and mission “ROADS on Mars”. The Bobcat astronaut is our school mascot. The “Cats” flag is flown on game days in Sunray, TX, so proudly will it fly on Mars for our victory of being there. We wanted everyone to know that we are explorers, and our flag is planted on Mars surface to show we are here!!! The Earth is in the background which is where our journey began and our home to return.

Top teams

NESSP is pleased to announce the following four teams who achieved top prizes. All teams received trophies commemorating their achievements as well as official NASA certificates.

We invite you to share our excitement by watching the official version of the ROADS on Mars final awards ceremony.

Top Teams

Ares Bobcats

A Curiosity Division (high school) team from the Cienega Astronomy STEM Club in Vail, Arizona.

The New von Brauns

A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Idaho.

Lunar Ladies

A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Gardiner Middle School in Oregon City, Oregon.

Sunray Bobcats Ares X-plorer

An Opportunity Division (middle school) team from Sunray Middle School from Sunray, Texas.

Mission Excellence

NESSP also recognized three teams for overall mission excellence. All teams received official NASA certificates commemorating their achievements.

Kerbal Krew

A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Spearfish Robotics Club in Spearfish, South Dakota.

DAB’EM

An Opportunity Division (middle school) team from Roosevelt Elementary in Port Angeles, Washington.

Lil Einsteins

A Curiosity Division (high school) team from Western Aerospace Scholars in Spokane Valley, Washington.

Mini-challenges

Other teams were recognized for excellence at various mini-challenges ranging from searching for signs of life in their communities to designing a mission patch for their team.

ROADS “Meet an Expert” — Trevor Graff, Perseverance’s project manager for flight hardware (February 11, 2021) 🗓

With just days to go before the Perseverance rover’s scheduled landing on Mars, NESSP was very excited to welcome Trevor Graff from NASA Johnson Space Center for one of our expert chats on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Trevor was project manager for flight hardware on the rover, and took us on an exploration of the rover’s scientific instruments, discussed details on its preparations for launch, and gave us a look at Perseverance’s projected landing on Mars. There was Q&A after the talk.

ROADS News for Crews — Chat with a Mars Perseverance specialist on Thursday, Feb. 11! 🗓

G’day, ROADS crews!

The Perseverance rover is just days away from its scheduled landing on Mars! NESSP is very excited to welcome Trevor Graff from NASA Johnson Space Center for one of our expert chats. Trevor was project manager for flight hardware on the rover, and he’ll take us on an exploration of the rover’s scientific instruments, discuss details on its preparations for launch, and take us on a look at Perseverance’s upcoming landing on Mars.

Mars Perseverance — Get Ready to Explore!

This chat will be a Zoom webinar. You do not need to be registered with Zoom to join us — you can select “Join from browser” from the loading screen.

See you soon!

ROADS “Meet an Expert” — Robert J. Nemiroff of Astronomy Picture of the Day (December 8, 2020) 🗓

As fans of APOD get to see daily, our universe is vast, amazing, and beautiful. For 25 years and counting, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day has been sharing “a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”

On December 11, 2020, NESSP was very excited to present an opportunity to chat with one of the professional astronomers behind the extremely popular APOD — Robert J. Nemiroff, one of the co-founders of the Astronomy Picture of the Day. There was time for Q&A after the talk.

Meet an Expert: Robert J. Nemiroff of Astronomy Picture of the Day 🗓

As fans of APOD get to see daily, our universe is vast, amazing, and beautiful.

A rotating series of images featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day.

For 25 years and counting, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day has been sharing “a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”

This December, NESSP is very excited to present an opportunity to chat with one of the professional astronomers behind the extremely popular APOD.

Join us Tuesday, December 8, at 11 a.m. (Pacific Time) for a presentation by Robert J. Nemiroff, one of the co-founders of the Astronomy Picture of the Day. There will be time for Q&A after the talk.

Date & time

About Robert J. Nemiroff

I worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA before coming to Michigan Tech. I am perhaps best known scientifically for papers predicting, usually among others, several recovered microlensing phenomena, and papers showing, usually among others, that gamma-ray bursts were consistent with occurring at cosmological distances. I led a group that developed and deployed the first online fisheye night sky monitor, called CONCAMs, deploying later models to most major astronomical observatories. I have published as first author and refereed for every major journal in astronomy and astrophysics. My current research interests include trying to limit attributes of our universe with distant gamma-ray bursts, and investigating the use of relativistic illumination fronts to orient astronomical nebulae.

In 1995, I co-created the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) with main NASA website at http://apod.nasa.gov/. A thumbnail of the latest APOD should appear on the upper left. If you are a fan of APOD, please consider joining the Friends of APOD at http://friendsofapod.org/.

In 1999, I co-created the Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL) open repository. Housed at MTU and located online at http://ascl.net/, the ASCL now lists over 1000 codes and promotes greater research transparency. ASCL is indexed by ADS, making participating astrophysics codes easier to locate and cite.

ROADS on Asteroids — Demo: Angle of repose

How do we measure the angle of repose? And what does it tell us when a slope is less than the angle of repose? Professor Robert Winglee, director of NESSP, gives us an overview and provides some demonstrations.

September 2020 Two-Day Teacher Workshop 🗓

NESSP’s next educator professional development will take place virtually (via Zoom) — but will still be hands-on! The two-day educator workshop is aligned with our next ROADS challenge (to be announced October 2020). Supplies will be mailed to participants who register by Friday, September 11.

The workshop is tentatively scheduled to run 4–8 p.m. on Friday, September 25, and 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Saturday, September 26 (all times are Pacific Time). Instructional sessions will be followed by time to step away from Zoom and engage hands-on with the topics and supplies.

This workshop is intended for teachers working in schools and will cover the ROADS on Asteroids companion course. In October we will offer a workshop for coaches and other mentors who work with students interested in the ROADS on Asteroids challenge.

Downloads

Topics

Topics will be covered over the course of both workshop days. The material and projects are for educators working with middle and high school -aged students.

  • Scientific and engineering documentation — the Mission Development Log (MDL)
  • Search for signs of life — methane and CO2 detection
  • Search for signs of life — build your own microscope (Foldscope)
  • Remote sensing and aeronautics — drone basics
  • Engineering design — making your robot and lander
  • Programming for middle and high school students — LEGO Mindstorms and Makeblock mBot Rangers
  • Landscape morphology — geologic processes in a sandbox

Supplies

Supplies are available, at no cost, to participants who register by Friday, September 11. There’s a section of the registration form (below) where you can indicate what supplies you’ll need.

Robots — If you need a robot for the workshop, this year we are providing Makeblock mBot Ranger robots. We ask you to please not request a robot if we’ve previously supplied you with a LEGO Mindstorms robot, unless you need to support a class.

Who can register

The September 2020 workshop is open only to educators from across the United States. This workshop is intended for teachers working in schools and will cover the ROADS on Asteroids companion course.

Clock hours

Educators may be eligible for clock hours from Idaho, Oregon, Montana, or Washington.

Register for September 2020 workshop

Registration for the September 2020 workshop is now closed.

ROADS on Mars — Final submissions 🗓

The ROADS on Mars final submission period is now open. Submission of final challenge materials will be virtual through the submission form below for all hubs.

Each team must submit three pieces of documentation for their final submission (more information below). You can submit all three at one time using the form below, or you can submit just one or two pieces now and return later to submit the rest.

The submission deadline is Monday, September 28, 2020, for all hubs.

Your submission must include — Challenge components

Each team must submit the following pieces of documentation for their final submission:

  1. Mission Development Log (MDL)
  2. Mission video
  3. Scoresheet

Your submission should also include — Media release forms

We should also receive media release forms for each student on the team. These forms must be signed by the student’s parent/guardian, not by the team’s teacher / coach / mentor.

If any adults appear in photos or videos included in the team’s submission, we should have a signed media release for them as well.

If you’d like to discuss this request for media release forms, please email us: nwessp@uw.edu

Download the forms here as PDFs:

Mission Development Log (MDL)

Hopefully you’re already familiar with the Mission Development Log requirement! It’s described in section 4.1.1 of the challenge manual.

For guidance as you prepare the final version of your MDL, our Mission Development Log rubric is available for download:

Mission video

The mission video requirement takes the place of what would normally be our in-person hub challenge. That means the mission video is not detailed in the ROADS on Mars manual, so please read the following information carefully!

What should the video show?

Your video should show your team’s full attempt at the final challenge. That’s it! No mini-challenge footage required.

When teams would, in normal times, gather at their hub for the final challenge event, they would have 10 minutes to complete all of the mission objectives. These MOs are listed in section 5.4 of the challenge manual. Your mission video should show your team attempting all of these mission objectives.

To be live or not

We know that some teams are already planning to run their final challenge as a live event for their friends and families on Facebook Live or Instagram Live. This is cool, but not required! If you do a live virtual event, you can submit your video to NESSP either as a link to the resulting social media post, or you can download your video from Facebook/Instagram and submit the file using the submission form below.

But it’s also absolutely okay to do your final challenge run without a virtual audience.

IF your team can gather together (safely!!)

One way to prepare your video is to set up your challenge course to approximate, as closely as you can, what the course would look like at a hub event, and then film your team running the challenge from beginning to end in one 10-minute attempt. You can definitely run as many attempts as you want to and then submit the best one! You may also use video editing software to splice together your best attempts at individual components of the challenge — but each mission objective should be shown on video as one single, uninterrupted shot.

But if gathering together isn’t possible

We know, however, that it’s pretty unlikely that teams will be able to gather together. In that case, teams should assign various MOs to individual members — the same way teams worked together, while still socially distancing, for our ROADS Freestyle challenge.

Each mission objective should be shown on video as one single, unedited shot. The MOs should then be edited together to create one video representing the team’s attempt at the final challenge from beginning to end.

But we don’t have the map or other supplies!

Most teams aren’t going to have the full complement of pieces (map, drone, &c.) that the final challenge run, as laid out in the manual, calls for — and we aren’t going to penalize a team for missing something! Please do attempt all of the mission objectives, but this is where your team can show off its creativity and ingenuity by improvising to meet the objectives.

In particular, note that there are detailed instructions on all features of the Mars mat in section 5.2 of the challenge manual so that teams can draw their own best representation of the map.

Submitting your video

You can either submit a link to your video (Facebook/Instagram video, YouTube video, a Google Drive folder, a Dropbox, &c.) or you can upload a file using the submission form below.

Scoresheet

When your team does its final challenge run, you must have your teacher / coach / mentor act as a judge to score your attempt at the challenge. The completed scoresheet must be uploaded as one of your pieces of documentation. The scoresheet is available as a downloadable Excel file here. Please email us ASAP if you have problems with the file! nwessp@uw.edu

Submission form

You will need your team name and team number to make your submission, but this time you don’t need to log into anything. If you can’t remember your team number, email us and we’ll look it up: nwessp@uw.edu

The submission form is pretty short — one page to set up your submissions, one page to confirm what you’re submitting and enter your contact info, and one page to submit everything to the server. You WILL get an on-screen confirmation message (it shows up as a green box), so don’t close your browser tab until you see that! You’ll also get a confirmation email from the system, so if you don’t receive that you should email us to double-check.

ROADS on Mars submission form

Step 1 of 2
To complete the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge, your team must submit three pieces of documentation. We should also have media release forms for each student on the team (signed by their parent/guardian -- NOT the team's teacher/coach/mentor). You can submit all of them right now, or you can submit them each separately by returning to this form.

SME talk: NASA Artemis Program Overview [ROADS News for teams (July 23, 2020)] 🗓

G’day, challenge teams!

This is a last-minute notification, but we’re excited to invite you to join us for this talk! Tomorrow — Friday, July 24 — we’ll be hearing from Patrick Troutman, lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center, who will be presenting an Artemis Program overview. The talk will be streamed on Facebook Live, and we hope you’ll join us!

Science Matter Expert (SME) Presentation: NASA Artemis Program Overview

Details

About Patrick Troutman

A man wearing a white shirt with a black tie and sport coat stands in front of a window. The man is white and has brown hair.Patrick A. Troutman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Tech with a BS in aerospace and oceanographic engineering along with a minor in computer science. In the past 35 years he has worked for NASA designing and assessing the International Space Station, leading systems analysis related to future space scenarios including managing the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program, helping to define the Vision for Space Exploration, leading the integration for the Constellation Program lunar surface architecture, and leading human space exploration mission design for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture Team and the Evolvable Mars Campaign. Patrick currently serves as the lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center where his current efforts include developing what the next set of activities for humans should be beyond the international space station including crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

ROADS on Mars Freestyle winners

We are very excited to announce the top teams from our ROADS on Mars Freestyle Challenge!  Teams were eligible for prizes as a top overall team and as “best of” the Mission Objectives.  We are also pleased to award a few additional awards to teams who were especially deserving, and to award Special Commendations for efforts that were particularly impressive.

Top Teams for Overall Excellence in Mission Performance

Millburn Phobos — New Jersey

SPACETACULAR — Texas

COVID-19 Spirit Award

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Eagle Mind Squad — South Carolina

Intrepid Award for Best Solo Effort

Perseverance — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #2 — Map Construction

VMI — Oregon

Exploring in the Dark — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #3 — Communication Dish

Ares Bobcats — Arizona

Best of Mission Objective #4 — Lander

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Best of Mission Objective #5 — Map Navigation

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Crusaders — Washington

Best of Mission Objective #6 — Search for Life

The New Von Brauns — Idaho

Best of Mission Objective #7 — Mission Development Log

Arrows of Artemis — Montana

Best of Mission Objective #8 — Video Report

ASK Academy NASA Robotics Team — New Mexico

Special Commendations

Excellence in VR

VMI — Oregon

Superlative Team Communication

The Martian PALs Freestyle — New Jersey

Excellence in Sample Collection

TEAM STILE — Louisiana

Innovative Use of LEGO

Crusaders — Washington

Excellence in Rover Design

Perseverance — Washington

Excellence in Engineering Design & Science Methodologies

Baby Dragon — Nevada

Excellence in Robotic Engineering

Kerbal Krew — South Dakota

Excellence in Robotic Programming

VMX (Valor Mars eXploration) — Oregon

Humor in Video Production

Lost in Space — Washington

Innovative Use of Google Sites for MDL

Flight Team Excel — Maine

Resourcefulness in Mapmaking

Team 127% — Montana

Let’s finish the mission! — ROADS on Mars reboot information

G’day, ROADS on mars teams!

This is the email/blog post you’ve been waiting for — we’re officially announcing the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge reboot.

This is not a restart!  We’re not asking teams to go back to the beginning and start all over again.  The challenge will pick up where we left off back in March.  You won’t lose any of the work that you’ve already done.

How will we finish the final stages of the challenge?  Virtually, by early September around when the school year usually starts.

Here are a few details:

Mini-challenges

Mini-challenge awards for most hubs have been announced.  Some hubs were still accepting mission patch submissions when the ROADS on Mars challenge went on hiatus. NESSP is working with those hubs to finish accepting submissions and announce winners.

Mission Development Log (MDL)

Each team’s MDL was originally due during the hub’s challenge event, to be reviewed during the on-deck time.  For the reboot, all MDLs will be submitted online — similar to how the mini-challenge submissions were submitted.  The submission portal for MDLs will open in August.

Running the final challenge

There will be no in-person events for any hub.  Teams will record their challenge run and submit it online for scoring.  Videos must be of one single run of the challenge — straight through, no cuts or edits.  This will result in a video that is long and difficult to upload, so teams should use social media (for example, Facebook Live) to broadcast and record their challenge run.  Teams will then submit the URL to that video for the NESSP team and hubs to review.

Teams will also submit a score sheet of their official challenge run.  NESSP will provide an official score sheet which should be used by an educator or mentor who is present during the team’s run to assess and score the team’s mission performance.  Teams will then upload that score sheet when they submit their video URL to NESSP.  We’ll use that completed score sheet to compare notes when we review the video for official scoring.

The score sheet will be available on the NESSP website later this summer, along with tips on getting good video when your team runs the challenge.

The score sheet and video will be due in September according to the submission period set by each hub — some may accept submissions in August, some in September.  We’ll announce exact dates later this summer.

More info to come!

Details on deadlines, recording your video, and submitting your materials will be available over the summer.  Keep an eye on your inbox and on the NESSP blog for information as it becomes available!

ROADS on Mars / ROADS Freestyle — News for teams (June 11, 2020)

G’day, Mars enthusiasts!

From NASA — Mars2020 Launch

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are keeping Kennedy Space Center off-limits for most of us, the Mars2020 rover launch is scheduled to go forward as planned.  Currently, the rover is tentatively scheduled to launch on Monday, July 20, around 9 a.m. Eastern Time (6 a.m. Pacific Time).  As always, this depends on the weather in Florida!  But NASA will be livestreaming the launch via their usual channels.  You can get more info here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/launch/watch-online/

From NESSP — “Meet an Expert” series

We have no sessions of “Meet an Expert” coming up, but that makes this a great time to catch up on ones you missed!

From NESSP — Mars challenge updates

ROADS on Mars Student Challenge


The ROADS on Mars Student Challenge remains on hold — but not forever!  Stay tuned for an announcement later this month on how we’re rebooting the ROADS on Mars challenge so that teams can finish their missions.

ROADS Freestyle Challenge

The ROADS Freestyle Challenge scoring process is nearly complete and we should be announcing winners by mid-June.  All teams will receive an email and prize-winning teams will be announced on our website.

Where’s Mars?

Can we see Mars in the sky yet?  It’s still an early-dawn object, but if you happen to be up you’ll find it if you look east-southeast to south.  Mars is currently in the constellation Aquarius and is growing brighter and larger every week.

Stay safe!  Keep your rovers at the ready.  And above all — have FUN.