Red Rover, Red Rover, Send The Martians On Over….

Monday morning the Mars Rover Design Team (MRDT) work area/stall was quiet; too quiet. Just ten days (and counting) until the public Rover unveiling/naming celebration, you’d think MRDT would be in final/frantic crunch mode; repairing the unbreakable thing or remaking a piece because the ordered parts didn’t fit.

Just a yardstick away the Human Powered Vehicle Competition Team (HPVC) was struggling to finish the last few pieces of their masterful carbon-fiber trike. Realizing that HPVC’s competition deadline was just three days away Rover’s mechanical team, including Jon Bopp and James Zandstra, saw a greater need than their own and instantly suspended Rover work to help get the ASME-sponsored project out the door. Baja! SAE’s mechanics and the crew of Advanced Aero Vehicle Group’s rocket team took the hint and pitched right in, pulling a community all-nighter to wrap things up.

MRDT Mechanical Systems Team Lead Ian Lee said “If you look around the shop on any day in the year, you would see Peter Frieberger, Mitch Thurman, and other HPV members helping other teams, especially with composites. They have almost certainly lent a helping hand, design advice, or some machining time to every project in the center this year. Peter even cleared space in their work area for our team’s tables and tools. I’m proud of our guys for jumping in to help. I figure the least we could do was to help them succeed at their competition.”

The focus of experiential learning at Missouri S&T is team-based operations, which prepares our students to thrive in their careers, communities, and lives alike. Call it the Golden Rule if you like, or Spock’s “………the needs of the many……” soliloquy, (which any respectable tech geek knows by heart) putting other people’s needs ahead of your own speaks volumes about these students.

A few years back a Miner design team member exclaimed “WOW! There’s a whole lot more to engineering than just engineering!” Generosity, unselfishness, integrity, teamwork and kindness aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. Those traits start at home and really blossom as you learn to work well with other people. Design center staff have the best jobs on campus as we watch these young people develop into the kind of people anyone would want to work with. It’s a genuine honor to think we might have had a small role in that process.

And yes, the Human Powered Vehicle Competition Team DID get on the road to Florida. With a little (lot?) help from their friends.

As it should be.