Experiential Learning is just that; learning by doing, whether in victory or defeat. In their first year the S&T Mars Rover Design Team (MRDT) put together a superbly-organized crew that made it to competition in the Utah desert. That Mars-analog, on-the-ground experience gave the Miner Martians the last piece of the puzzle, the understanding of what the task really demanded. And they responded!
Graduating CEO Michael Bouchard opened the ceremony by recognizing the Mars Society, sponsors of the international competition, and explaining the team’s philosophy of “Today. Tomorrow. Forever.”
No S&T design team has ever made such a quantum leap in their sophomore season as MRDT; no team has even come close. Phoenix, revealed Friday to a large campus crowd, looks like the team skipped several generations of development to produce a vehicle light-years ahead of last year’s highly-regarded “Akers.”
Chief Technical Officer Charlie Gardner, Jr., introduced system team leads Ian Lee (mechanical systems), Josh Jetter (telecommunications), Jake Armenta (power train) and Leah Spandle (auxiliary) all of whom described the rover’s many features, from concept to manufacturing and testing.
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Last year one shocked veteran competitor said “If this is what you bring your first time, what the @#$%&! are you going to bring NEXT year?
He’s about to find out. Five bucks says he’ll be speechless.