Rasco Mars Rover ready to explore Earth and space

Rasco Mars Rover ready to explore Earth and space

Journalists from ePodravina website visited students of the Đurđevac Vocational School, who are working on the Mars Rover project sponsored by Rasco

Original article is available here.

Photo: Ivan Balija

Rasco Mars Rover is a new project of the Space Technology Section of the Vocational School in Đurđevac, through which students prepare for the exploration of the Earth and space.

First we will explore the local desert “Đurđevački peski” with our spacecraft and then, who knows, maybe one day we will end up on Mars because only space is the limit, said Boris, Luka, Borna and Karlo, students of the Vocational School in Đurđevac, who learn about cosmology, robotics, mechanics and electrical engineering through Space Technology Section.

The team leader, Professor Željko Brček, came up with these interesting activities to arouse the curiosity of these young researchers and deepen their interest in the STEM field. The pandemic significantly disrupted their plans because now, due to safety and health measures, there are far fewer of them than last year. Nevertheless, students are finding new ways to achieve their goals, with the support of their mentor Mr. Brček and school principal Darko Špoljar.

Photo: Ivan Balija

Their Space project intrigued Rasco company, municipal vehicles and equipment manufacturer. Rasco leadership recognized their own values in the project and activities related to the project. It was their desire for research and practical application of science and technology which led them to have more than 80 products in their portfolio today. And they began similarly like these students; 30 years ago, two friends and engineering enthusiasts Darko Paviša and Frane Franičević produced their first machine in the garage – a chamomile picker.

Without innovation there is no evolution and that is why we are glad to see students who want to develop their creativity and create something new. So we decided to join this project and help them in the realization because we have a lot in common. Maybe there are our future employees among them, and we certainly want to keep young people in the Podravina region and enable them to develop here, says Ivan Franičević, CEO.

Photo: Ivan Balija

As Professor Brček explains, the Rasco Mars Rover is built according to NASA’s open Jet Propulsion Laboratory platform. There are all the designs and ‘know-how’ for making a space vehicle, but the vehicle parts must be procured independently. Rasco’s donation was used to buy some vehicle parts from China, while plastic parts are printed on a school 3D printer. So far, they have made a pre-model of the future space vehicle, while the real one should be larger. It will have a camera, a robotic arm and GPS guidance. The students plan to make two models, because they also applied this project to the IRIM competition of the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation.

We have the will and the idea, and we hope that with the help of companies and institutions that recognize our work, maybe one day we will see NASA’s center in Florida, which would be a ream come true for these students, concludes Professor Brček.

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