top of page
  • Freddy Dopfel

Stanford Mars Rover Team

Updated: May 9, 2020

During my time at Stanford, I was an active member of the Mars Rover Team within the Stanford Robotics Club ( Our goal was to develop a multi-function robotic rover that could traverse long distances, navigate autonomously, perform science experiments on soil chemistry, and manipulate fine controls on a mock sample recovery rocket--all under a tight weight constraint. Our first generation robot, Clover the Rover, was submitted to the International University Rover Challenge (part of the Mars Society) and accepted as a finalist, a rarity among first year submissions. The second generation rover, Anakin Sandwalker, was improved from lessons learned in our first generation design, and won third place overall and first place in a number of categories. 

simulated mars

My primary role was in redesigning parts to be lighter while maintaining strength and rigidity. To keep costs down, many of our parts were off-the-shelf and not optimized for weight. However, by disassembling them and re-assembling them with custom, lighter, but equally strong, replacements (3D printing was a very effective means of accomplishing this), we could increase the size of our batteries and motors, and give us a little more wiggle room. For example, my redesign of the antenna system reduced the total weight of the rover by 10%.

The team traveled to the Mars Society Research Base in the Utah desert, where we worked in a simulated Mars environment to test our rover against those from other universities around the world. Below are a few photos of the team and me working on the rover in the desert, along with our original application video to the University Rover Challenge.

140 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page