Laura Studyvin
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ROLLA, Mo. (June 21, 2024) – The Mars Rover Design Team at Missouri University of Science and Technology was among the top finishers in the annual University Rover Challenge, an international competition held at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. The Missouri S&T team came in fourth overall in the event, which was won by a team from the AGH University of Krakow in Poland.

The competition consisted of four missions in which the rover, designed and built by university students, had to carry out various tasks, as well as a review of the rover’s design. The rover was required to maneuver through soft sand and rocky terrain, around vertical drops and steep slopes, as well as navigate autonomously for certain parts of the challenge.

Missouri S&T’s rover, Hyperion, came in second in the equipment servicing mission with a score of 94 out of a possible 100. The mission required the rover to perform a variety of tasks including operating a joystick, tightening a screw and typing commands on a keyboard. The rover even had to pick up a USB memory stick and plug it into a slot-something many humans find challenging to get right on the first try. The team created a video about Hyperion, available on YouTube.

The Mars Rover Design Team competed against 37 other teams from around the world. Countries represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Poland and Turkey, in addition to numerous teams from the United States.

Students who traveled to the competition are:

  • Donovan Bale, a junior in computer science from Manchester, Missouri
  • Grant Bergstrom, a Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering from Riverside, Missouri
  • Eli Byrd, a junior in computer science from Bella Vista, Arkansas
  • Ethan Chapie, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from St. Louis
  • Aster Davidson, a junior in physics and chemistry from St. Louis
  • Brady Davis, a recent graduate in computer engineering from Canton, Missouri
  • Abigail Frerking, a senior in mechanical engineering from Columbia, Missouri
  • Will Grove, a junior in computer engineering from Independence, Missouri
  • Adam Klassen, a junior in computer engineering from St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Remy Mathenia, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering from Rolla, Missouri
  • Lillianna Matthews, a graduate student in aerospace engineering from O’Fallon, Missouri
  • Cooper Ritzma, a junior in electrical engineering from Concordia, Missouri
  • Catharyn Ryden, a sophomore in geology and geophysics from St. Louis
  • Dominic Salvo, a sophomore in aerospace engineering from Saint Charles, Missouri
  • Chase Stem, a junior in aerospace engineering from Columbia, Missouri
  • Ryan Swan, a junior in mechanical engineering from Wildwood, Missouri
  • Sofia Tripp, an undeclared first-year student from St. Louis
  • Will Weidler, a junior in computer science from St. Louis
  • Alex Wortmann, a recent graduate in computer engineering from Wardsville, Missouri.

About design teams
Design teams are registered student organizations that operate as 501(c) non-profit businesses. The teams work like small start-up companies, bringing together students from different disciplines to work on large-scale projects. In addition to hands-on design and manufacturing experience, students gain experience in project management, fundraising, public relations and more. Most teams compete annually against other collegiate teams from across the country and around the world. For more information about Missouri S&T’s design teams, visit

About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit


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Missouri S&T’s Mars Rover Design Team pose with their 2024 rover, Hyperion, in Hanksville, Utah. Photo courtesy of Dr. Melanie Mormile.