Mars Rovers with Microbits or Arduino

New Mission to Mars rovers

First Outing for Mission to Mars Rovers

Truro High School for Girls were the first students to utilise Software Cornwall’s new Martian Rovers.

Having a purpose built circuit board to improve robustness and ease of construction these rovers have one significant upgrade over their predecessors. These can utilise either an Arduino Nano or a BBC Microbit as the onboard processor. Enabling students from primary school to under graduate age to program them.

Arduino or BBC Microbit

The Arduino Nano is for the Mission to Mars Work Experience. These are for Year 10 and above students. Learning to code on the week long Missions or the two day Bytesize sessions. During these experiences students as a team develop the necessary C++ Arduino code to control the rovers over a series of stories. Each story, or task, is progressively more involved and pushes the participants to collaborate together.

The short school period length sessions will utilise the BBC Microbits option. Here, students will either utilise Python or Microsoft MakeCode blocks to write the necessary instructions. Each Microbit can be programmed separately and just plugged in to the rover. There is even a class to build a rover remote control utilising the bluetooth capabilities of the Microbit. These workshops are suitable for students from as young as Year 5 in Primary Schools. Youngsters attending the Saturday Cornwall Tech Jam coding days will also have the opportunity to use them as well.

One rover being overtaken by another.

These new rovers will hopefully work hard over the next few years. Driving many miles across the strange school landscapes around the county of Cornwall.

Applications Open

If you know of any student who would be interested in a Mission to Mars, applications are now open for next July 2021. Hopefully a live event but already in 2020 this has been run virtually three times for nearly 50 students. Whatever the situation the work experience will go ahead.