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In Images: Student-Built Rovers Explore a Mock Mars Environment

European Rover Challenge

European rover challenge

(Image credit: Planet PR)

The first annual European Rover Challenge pitted rovers built by students from around the world against each other in a three-day tournament to navigate a mock Mars environment.

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European rover challenge

(Image credit: Planet PR)

The teams had to design, build and test their rovers during the competition. The rovers had to complete tasks such as navigating to specific locations or repairing life-support equipment.

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Simulated mission

European rover challenge

(Image credit: Planet PR)

The team with the most cumulative points after four field-based challenges, plus a presentation before a panel of judges, was crowned the victor on the third day of competition.

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Competition results

European rover challenge

(Image credit: Planet PR)

"Scorpio Team" from Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland came in first place; "Impuls Team" from Kielce University of Technology, also in Poland, came in second; and the "Lunar and Mars Rover Team" from Cairo University in Egypt came in third.

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Building a rover

European rover challenge

(Image credit: Planet PR)

One of the tasks in the competition required the use of a robotic arm to retrieve and carry spare parts. Teams won bonus points for carrying out additional tasks.

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Future Martianauts

Kids in spacesuits

(Image credit: Planet PR)

"The first humans, or 'Martianauts,' will need different kinds of robots," said Lukasz Wilczynski, organizer of the European Rover Challenge. Today's kids may be tomorrow's Mars explorers, he added.

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Drone demo

Quadcopter drone

(Image credit: Planet PR)

The rover challenge coincided with a conference on "Humans in Space," held at the same place, as well as a science and technology picnic where drones and other futuristic technologies were on display for the public.

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Tanya Lewis
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.