Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Salehinia, Iman

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering


The Mars Society hosts an annual collegiate level robotics competition called the University Rover Challenge (URC) at the Mars Society Desert Research Station in Utah. The URC is a task oriented competition featuring challenges and obstacles replicating those expected during the colonization of Mars such as astronaut assistance, extreme terrain traversal, autonomous operation, and scientific experimentation. Picus Martius is NIU’s first submission into the URC and features a wide range of custom designed mechanical components. Implementing a concurrent engineering design process, each component was carefully selected based upon resulting design analysis, manufacturability, and economic feasibility. Picus Martius channels NASA’s Curiosity by employing a Rocker-Bogie suspension system with custom optimized wheels to achieve stable movement through rough terrain. The manipulation system includes five degrees of freedom to accomplish the dexterous tasks of the competition such as tool handling, refueling a tank, and operating valves. In addition, Picus Martius was created to lay the foundation for a new College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET) club called the NIU Mars Rover Team. The methodology of the design decisions and analysis has been thoroughly documented including tutorials to provide new team members with the ability to learn about proper organization and concurrent engineering.


This is a collaborative work between five mechanical engineering students.


164 pages




Northern Illinois University

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

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