ROL NEWS--Mars Lander Challenge for Rocket Hobbyists

Mars Lander Challenge for Rocket Hobbyists
February 3, 2004
Web posted at: 5:11 PM EST
(ROL Newswire) -- Many rocket hobbyists are sparked by the Mars Lander
missions in the news. As a result of this interest, a consortium of
sport rocketry vendors, manufacturers, local sport rocket clubs and
sport rocketry enthusiasts have organised a challenge to encourage
rocket hobby enthusiasts to learn more about rocketry and space science.
Phase 1 of Lander Challenge requires a competing team to launch a sport
rocket containing a simulated lander, to safely land the lander, and to
deploy a rover. The rover must then be remotely navigated to a
predetermined spot on the flying field.
Teams are encouraged to use off the shelf hobby, or electronic items in
the construction of their rovers and landers, but may chose to custom
make anything necessary.
It is hoped by sponsoring the Lander Challenge, junior, senior,
collegiate and even adult hobby enthusiasts will be encouraged to learn
more about rocketry and space science and have fun while learning.
The web site for the Lander Challenge can be visited
at
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Source: ROL Newswire Service
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I read this release, and for about 5 minutes, I thought it was a great, really cool idea.
Then, I decided it was a poorly thought out, poorly documented, really cool idea.
First of all, there aren't enough details to figure out what the rules are. Does the rover have to get to the flag to get any points, or is that part of the "mission points" only? Can you walk out to where the rover landed, and drive it from there to the flag? Those are only the more obvious questions.
The other concern I have is that this is hugely slanted toward those in the west that can fly on hardpack playa or lakebed areas. For those of us on the East coast, we have to fly out of cow pastures and corn fields. Well, maybe there is a sod farm about 5 hours away. I would assert that it is at least 10 times more difficult to build a rover that can traverse a corn field, than one that can traverse a dry lakebed. Heck, an off-the-shelf radio shack RC car could do that easily. My big honkin RC Humvee can't even make it through the grass at Whitakers, and it won't fit in an 11" airframe. Not even close. And the impulse limit is K. This should not be too easy, but on the other hand it shouldn't require NASA technology and a budget to match.
So, I think this is a great, challenging, thought-provoking idea that could be a lot of fun. But the guys who posted it should do a lot more thinking about what is fair and reasonable given the constraints, time limits, and field conditions that many of us have to deal with.
-- David
Reply to
David
I actually thought the website looked a bit thrown together, but the documentation looked fine.
No one said you had to fly in a grass field. Here in the cold midwest I plan on flying and landing on the parking lot next to our launch field. I think if you go out and look at fairdground parking lots you would find a suitable site. Especialy if you design it Light enough for DEF engines
I plan on using a $19 RC car from Kmart, because I have it. I believe it'll fly on a cluster of 2 DEF engines. stability of an eglofter. total cost might be $100 if you include other stuff i already have
You need to think outside the box a bit more. I don't plan on building mine till a month before deadline, as I have NARCON, DESCON and other things to work on.
It helps to have skill also.
P.S. the phase 2 doesn't look to thought out yet, But I believe I understand what he wants us to compete for, and have already planned for that competition.
That one I might have to start working 2 months before deadline
Reply to
tater schuld
it's amazing what some people manage to get done in less then 5 days David.
I saw a complete rules page.
From what I read in the rules, you can be anywhere but the Flag point.
Those are only the more obvious questions.
Parking lots ?
Well,
But the guys who posted it should do a lot more thinking
Reply to
almax
...
no, YOU should do some more thinking about the field conditions.
who said you have to actually ROLL on the grass? I can think of at least 4 other ways to travel over grass.
and who said the "pre determined spot on the flying field" has to be grass at all? want to simulate a landing on say, Titan?
don't think too long and hard about what the rules are and what they might imply and what kind of a box they make; think long and hard about getting outside that box!
hey, that's good advice in general for life, actually.
so put yer feet up on your desk and have a couple ounces of good single malt and let those creative juices flow!!!!
Reply to
Cliff Sojourner
Cliff Sojourner wrote in news:8clUb.178544$sv6.939884@attbi_s52:
Yeah, yeah, autonomous GPS lawnmowers, yeah yeah yeah, that's the ticket!
len.
Reply to
Leonard Fehskens
Mow your lawn once manually and it repeats the process every week.
What if you make a mistake the first time? Does it crash into that tree every time?
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
So the lawnmower would clear a path for the rover? How rube Goldberg.
:)
Reply to
Dave Grayvis
now wait just a minute - you know that by the Safety Code we are not allowed to launch anything dangerous and explosive - like gasoline!!
Reply to
Cliff Sojourner
Heck, forget the gasoline. Close Your eyes and picture this, AUTONOMOUS LAWNMOWER!.... RUN FOR THE HILLS!... AAIIEEEEEE!!
Reply to
Dave Grayvis
Dave Grayvis wrote in news:G1uUb.3893$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com:
No, man, like, the lawnmower would BE the rover!
(Works better if you imagine this being said by Tommy Chong.)
len.
Reply to
Leonard Fehskens
Cliff Sojourner wrote in news:tCuUb.224430$I06.2445399@attbi_s01:
Nah. AC powered. With a long extension cord.
len.
Reply to
Leonard Fehskens
My newsreader missed a few posts in this thread, but I'll try to fill in the gaps.
Ya, ya, I get berated all the time by you creative types about being stuck in a box. So high and mighty are you. I bet you like classical music too! :-)
But anyways, I can think of 4 ways to travel over grass too, but none of them fit in or on a K-powered rocket, let alone a D-E-F powered rocket. We're talking about 12" grass with cowpies and ditches, not mowed grass. And none of them are nearly as simple as a $19.95 RC car from the shark, which is probably what the designers of the contest had in mind.
And yes, I've looked for flatter, smoother terrain with fewer trees. That's kind of the holy grail around here. Wal-Mart says no because they're open 24 hours and can't guarantee that a customer won't drive into the parking lot. K-Mart says no because, well, they're K-Mart. All the malls have parking decks, not wide-open asphalt. Fairgrounds is full of trees. The college football field said no, and they have barbed wire around the field to enforce it. I don't have a nice parking lot near my launch site, we park in the tall grass on the cow pasture. So I guess one of the questions is: does it have to be a legal flying field with permission from the owner?
So, back to my original topic, don't you think the rules favor those with good field conditions over those who don't have good field conditions? Was that the intent of the contest?
-- David
Reply to
David
Word of caution. the little toy RC cars are not likely to be very workable.
I got the impression (could an official clarify this ??) that you had to be 100ft away from the flag pole.
standing 20ft from the flag pole is no different than being AT the flag pole in my book.
that means those RC cars may not WORK at 100ft.
also how will you SEE it.
i plan to fly wireless video on the car and drive it remotely.
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
drive by flying.
drive out of town by a local school. pile out setup launch rover to the pole (remember someone can be holding it) and then scamper back to the car.
get bonus points for your "black ops" operation and choreograph your "video" documentary accordingly.
in fact I might do that just for the fun of it. Planetary Underground Freedom Fighters. :-) I like the sound of that.
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
keep an eye on the shark as another called it. and also kb toys.
$30 for a tank tread car like the old tyco fast traxx. that will tackle most terrain without much difficult and it what I will be using if it has the 100ft range I will need.
I do plan to build a custom one use lithium battery pack for the actual flight though to lose some mass (that 9.6v pack is very heavy) I can get enough lithium AA's for about $12
will also shred the car till its as light as possible.
Chris Taylor
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> > > tater schuld wrote: > > ... > > > >
Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
P.U.F.F.?
Reply to
Patrick Harvey
Ohhhhhh bad boy. that just won't doo gonna have to come up with a new name :-)
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
I do not think it can put out the needed amps. most 9v are under 300mah that is .3amps
not sure how much "load" they will put out but it does have to run at idle for a minimum of 10 minutes and POWER the car for at least 10 minutes (that is what I could consider minimum specs etc..)
but it is intriguing I may have to try it and see what happens !!
Also rat shack has a VERY nice 9v lithium battery (look like a normal 9v but VERY VERY light)
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr

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