Red Rover

From: Sheila Rhodes <>
Subject: Red Rover
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 09:00:49 -0500

The Red Rover project is a program started by the Planetary Society
several years ago.  It started after a meeting I had with Louis
Freedman, Executive Director of TPS, at a Challenger Center conference
in Washington. I was presenting what students in Canada had done as 
part our our Canadian National Marsville Program.  One of the elements
of this cross-Canada program was to have students in various cities
design and construct Martian rovers and control them over a rocky
terrain.  We were using the LEGO materials and the Control Lab
Software.  Louis was really excited about the project and we talked
about how this simulated the rover tests being done in Russia and
various other locations.  He contacted George Powell, a long-time TPS
member and an engineer at JPL.  What evolved over the next 6 months was
the Red Rover Project.  George worked with Utah State University to
develop software to control the rovers from remote locations.  This
involved a video board in the computer connected to a miniature camera
mounted on top of the rover.  Students connected via modem to a remote
location and send immages of their terrain to the other site.  The
students at the remote site "drove" the firtsr team's rover to a
location on the Mars terrain.  In feb 95, we tested the software for the
first time between Toronto-LA, Hawaii-Utah.  It was really exciting!
TRhe program has grown over the last 2 years to involve the use of
Internet.  You can find out more on TPS web site
The program was originated because my copmputer crashed right before my
presentation to a group of teachers and I had to borrow Lou's machine! 
I truly believe in serendipity!!
We continue to do this Rover activity with our CNM program every year. 
We use our web site here in Toronto to give students a space to discuss
their ideas and plan their models.  I will have a discussion group opne
to teachers, students and mentors involved ib the program.  Engineers
from Spar Aerospace (Canadarm fame) help with the project.
I'd be pleased to share my materials with anyone interested in this
aspect of the program.