Details

The ROADS Freestyle Challenge is following in the path of the original ROADS on Mars Student Challenge. Think of the Freestyle challenge as a training simulation of the ROADS on Mars challenge.

Students will form teams that act as the crew of a ROADS Freestyle mission. Your crew has 8 Mission Objectives (MO) to accomplish as part of the Freestyle challenge. As your team’s crew members tackle each MO, you’ll be documenting your mission with both video and a Mission Development Log (MDL). When you’ve completed your mission, you’ll submit a final video and your MDL to the NESSP team for scoring. Full details are further down on this page.

The ROADS Freestyle challenge will be … well, challenging! If we’re all practicing excellent social distancing, then each crew member will be working on their tasks on their own at their homes. There’s no need to break quarantine to complete the mission — but that does mean you’ll have to work out how to overcome the communication and collaboration challenges of being a distributed team.

Preliminary steps

Form a team! — A good team size is around 5-6 people. Fewer or more than that is okay, but running it all by yourself would probably be hard! If you already have a team for the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge, we encourage you to keep that team for the Freestyle Challenge.

Register your team. — We strongly recommend that you have your adult register your team by Monday, May 11 (extended!). If you wait any later than that, you’ll likely find your team cutting it a bit close to make the submission deadline.

Plan your mission. — Read over the Mission Objectives document and plan out your mission. Think about what supplies you’ll need, what tasks need to be done, which team member will be responsible for each aspect of the mission, and so on. Since each team member will be working in their own home, also plan how you’ll keep in touch with each other to share updates on your tasks and to assess how the mission is going overall.

Documenting your mission — a.k.a., Submission & scoring

Mission Objectives 07 and 08 below are about documenting your mission — but don’t wait until you’ve done MOs 01 through 06 before thinking about your documentation! You should start thinking about, and working on, your Mission Development Log (MO 07) and your video report (MO 08) right from the beginning. These are the two submissions you will have to send to NESSP for scoring.

Tip! — Read MOs 07 and 08 first. Then go back and read all of the MOs in order, keeping in mind how you’ll document each step in the Mission Development Log and the video report.

The submission process will open in early April. Details will be sent to all registered teams and posted to the website.

References

Documents

ROADS Freestyle teams will need the Mission Objectives document to guide them as they complete the mission. We also recommend the manual for the original ROADS on Mars Student Challenge as a good resource for understanding some of the concepts of the Mars2020 mission.

Maps

The ROADS Freestyle challenge follows the same map used for the original ROADS on Mars Student Student Challenge. Freestyle teams will create their own maps to use at home, but will be recreating the features of the ROADS map (see MOs 01 and 02 below). Both the official map and the annotated map are included in the Mission Objectives document (above).

  • ROADS official Mars map — JPEG (31MB) | PDF (43MB)
  • ROADS official Mars map, with annotations — JPEG (5MB)

Mission Objectives (MO)

The ROADS Freestyle Challenge has a total of 8 MOs — and objectives 02-08 are each eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize!

MO-01: Design your map

Design your own obstacle course. Keep in mind the features of the Mars 2020 landing site used in the ROADS on Mars Student Challenge. How you interpret and implement those features is entirely up to your team!

Notes:

  • Each team member will complete this MO on their own — please avoid in-person meetings with anyone outside of your household!

MO-02: Build your map

Each team member should replicate the map at their house. Everyone’s maps must have the same dimensions, but use whatever objects you have on hand to create the obstacle course designed in MO 01. A landing zone, river delta, mountains, crater, samples to be collected, and the delivery/caching point for the rock samples must be identifiable on each map.

Notes:

  • Each team member will complete this MO on their own — please avoid in-person meetings with anyone outside of your household!
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-03: Build a communication dish

An interplanetary mission needs a communication apparatus to communicate with Earth. One crew member will design a communication dish (using 10 separate pieces of material that can be found at home), provide the design to all other crew members, and then create a video of constructing the dish and placing it on the map. All other members should then build a copy of the communication dish according to the team design and place it on their own map. Each crew member’s map must have a communication dish, and the dish must be visible in the videos that crew members record for MOs 04-05.

Notes:

  • Only one crew member will design the communication dish for this MO, so decide among your team who will do it. All other crew members must use the design to then build their own copy of the dish.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-04: Build a lander & drop it on Mars

One crew member will design, build, and land a lander on their Mars map. The lander should be built out of material you can find at home, but unlike the communication dish in MO 03, there is no requirement on number of pieces. To land on Mars, use whatever means you have available in the house to drop off the lander in the landing circle without directly touching the lander. Be creative, but direct placement on the lander by hand is not allowed! The crew member must record a video demonstrating the lander being dropped off in the landing zone on the map — the video does not need to include construction of the lander.

Notes:

  • Only one crew member needs to complete this MO, so decide among your team who will do it.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-05: Navigate Mars with a robotic rover

A crew member with a robotic or toy vehicle will use their “rover” to navigate the map should complete this MO. Use the rover to go through the obstacle course to collect the rock samples and deliver them to the cache sample zone on the map.

Notes:

  • Only one crew member needs to complete this MO, so decide among your team who will do it.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-06: Search for life

One crew member will perform a search for signs of life within their household. Look for bugs, things decomposing, etc. The member who accomplishes this objective should describe the search extensively in the MDL.

Notes:

  • Only one crew member needs to complete this MO, so decide among your team who will do it.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-07: Mission development log (MDL)

Tell us about your activities! What are you learning? What has been easy? What has been difficult? Did you find knowledge about these topics from a book, an online video, a teacher, a friend? Tell us everything! Each team member should contribute, but have one crew member compile the final document for submission to NESSP.

Notes:

  • All members can contribute to this MO, but have just one crew member compile the final version to be submitted to NESSP.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.

MO-08: Mission video report

One crew member should collect all the videos from the team and create a single, 4-minute video documenting the team’s mission. If you’re comfortable sharing the video on social media (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), that’s great! The submission form will ask you for the link to your social media post. If you’d rather not post your video publicly online, that’s totally fine, too — the submission form will also allow you to upload it directly to NESSP for scoring.

Notes:

  • All members can contribute to this MO, but have just one crew member compile the final version to be submitted to NESSP.
  • This MO is eligible for a “Best in Mission Objective” prize.