European Mars Rover Contest 2018 in Poland
The annual European Mars Rover Contest ERC18 will take place this year in the Nature and Technology Museum in Starachowice from 14 to 16 September 2018. Mars rover developers and enthusiasts are invited to register soon. The conditions for participation in the contest are here. It is no coincidence that this place was chosen for the competition. A track formed by experts for the needs of the competition is located close to the historic metallurgical furnace, which itself resembles a cosmic refinery from science-fiction and which will create a unique backdrop to the event.
A new location, two parallel categories, for both students and professional teams with tasks inspired by real challenges, rules prepared on the basis of the roadmaps of space agencies, such as NASA or ESA, and the chance to take part in the Mars mission on the Arabian Peninsula. All of this awaits participants in one of the most important robotics-space events in Europe.
As in previous editions, students have been invited to the competition (in the ERC Student formula) and for which regulations have already been published. This year's novelty is the opening up of the challenge to professional teams (in the ERC PRO formula).
According to the founder of the competition and member of the ERC jury, Lukasz Wilczynski from the European Space Foundation, the opening up of the competition to professional teams not only raises the level of the whole challenge (also in the ERC Student formula), but also allows competitors to establish business contacts – even in the workshop space.
The event already has the patronage of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Polish Space Agency and the National Center for Research and Development of Poland. Among the international partners of the event are: The Mars Society and Austrian Space Forum (OEWF), which has funded a special prize for the winners of the ERC Student 2018 –participation of team members and their rover in the OEWF’s AMADEE 2020 Mars mission which will take place on the Arabian Peninsula. Coorganizers of the event are European Space Foundation, The „Starachowice” Special Economic Zone, Starachowice County and the Museum of Nature and Technology in Starachowice.
The three previous editions, covering mainly the Mars rover competitions and science and technology shows, gathered a total of over 70,000 viewers. In the ERC competition over 700 competitors from 15 countries around the world took part, including Australia, Colombia, the United States, Canada, Egypt, Nepal and Poland. Among the special guests of previous editions, there were, among others: Dr Harrison Schmitt (from the Apollo 17 mission), the last man to stand on the Moon, Dr Robert Zubrin, the founder and President of the Mars Society and Dr Gianfranco Visentin, the Head of the Automation and Robotics Section of the European Space Agency.
Team registration for the ERC Student 2018 has already started and will run until the end of March. More information about the competition on www.roverchallenge.eu