Rover Challenge

New Release – IOS Rover Challenge Leaderboard App! Download it today! READ MORE


The Rover Challenge explores how wheel size and gears can be optimized to obtain a specified mission. It was developed in partnership with VistaAST based on their NASA Rover Kit and curriculum.

Your mission is to configure a MARS ROVER to navigate the course terrains in the designated travel time. ROVERS traveling too fast could damage sensitive cargo. ROVERS traveling too slow would not be able to get the necessary supplies to their way point in time. Your goal is to come as close as possible to the designated travel time on both terrains with the same Rover configuration. Each team will design a mission patch to uniquely identify your team and celebrate your mission.

This challenge is ideal for high school and older groups.

Relevant STEM Principles

Gears, Wheels, Friction, Traction, Speed, Velocity, Forces, Geometry

Rippl3D collaborated with Vista AST LLC to add a challenge component to their awesome Rover Kit! Vista AST also offers curriculum for this kit that is a great addition to any classroom. For more information about their curriculum contact us!

Items available for purchase:

  • Rover Kit
  • Rover Challenge Expansion Kit
  • Vista AST Curriculum Program
STEP 1: Obtain a Rover Kit
STEP 2: Establish a Test Track

For this challenge we recommend two 4 meter long tracks.

  1. Sandy Track
  2. Rocky Track

Ideally these tracks will have vertical sides that are roughly 3-4 inches tall (say a 2×4 maybe) to keep the Rovers going in a straight path. Rovers don’t have steering and need to help!

STEP 3: Assemble the Kit

Assembly instructions are provided in the resource section below.

STEP 4: Achieve the Mission

Using the “Rover Mission Statement” document in the Resource section below, you are provided all the information you will need to solve this challenge. Good Luck!


Please see the Teachers Aid in the Resources Section Below.