From: Sheila Rhodes <email@example.com>
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 http://planetary.org/tps/. 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.