Loading DesignSpark, please wait...

We apologise for the slowness of this page You are using Internet Explorer 6, upgrading your browser will greatly enhance your experience using DesignSpark

The gateway to online resources and design support for engineers, powered by RS ComponentsAllied


Paul Clarke needs you! Help me with my massive Earth Rover project.

Posted by pauljclarke on


I Need Your Help-! Yes thats right, you, why? Because this is the start of one of the most ambitious project I have ever done. For it to work I need engineers from around the world to pull together and help me design and build a Earth Rover. This could be the start of something very big.


So lets start with explaining the whole idea. Weeks ago I heard about how NASA are going to build a new Mars Rover, a clone of Curiosity. This to save costs will be made in part from parts left over from the prototype and other left of parts. This got me thinking about all the leftover development board and bits and bobs I have. I could make something from them and why not make a Earth Rover robot emulating NASA.!? Now I’m not going to build a full size Curiosity but thinking more along the lines of a ‘Pathfinder’ or ‘Spirit’ sized rover.


The final unit will have some big challenges not only in design but also in the year long mission it will have to run for. Placed in a remote location my plan is to have it left untouched. That means it haves to keep its battery charged while carrying out mission objectives. Just like the Mars rovers this will have to carry out objectives on its own while relaying information back via a satellite to earth. Ok not a real satellite but a relay unit that carries out the RF comms link and puts the information on the internet for you all to see. There will also be interactive mission where you can log in and remotely control, drive, experiment and play with our Earth Rover. And as contributor to the project you get mission hours where you can do whatever you like.

I would also like to get some puzzles to solve, like finding objects that could lead to prizes - but will depend on the sponsors I can find and get. So there is a massive amount of things that we could do. And this is where I need your input. Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting more information about the Rover and information on the mission. You will get a opportunity to register an interest. So what am I looking for?

Well I’m looking for people to help write software, supply hardware, bit of welding or just help supplying information. There is no contribution too small and you're also getting a say in what the final design will look like.

So to get you thinking here is a list of the things we could have on our final Earth Rover, and its a long list! Solar powered with RF like to relay unit giving access to internet the unit will be field reprogrammable with kit like:


Camera (including night vision), light detector, IR / UV levels, temperature, %RH, wind speed, gas monitor, sound recorder, radiation levels, metal detector, gyro, compass, accelerometer, GPS, Radio (SDR), robot arm and thats the short basic list!

Can you think of more? Then let me know and also what missions would you carry out?

So there you go, this is your first introduction to this project. as yet its all still in the idea phase and there is lots to work out. But by opening it up to you now you can see my progress right from the start!

So come one, do you want to be part of this?

Follow Earthrover's progress



Related Blog Posts

EarthRover - Solar Heating

EarthRover - Getting on the Bus!



  • earthrover1 Avatar earthrover1

    Posted by earthrover1 at

    Gravity sucks for a curiosity full-sized rover on earth. Gel batteries are too heavy, presence of water in our atmosphere is an issue, four wheel drive is better than 2 on a 6-wheeled vehicle. All else is well...



  • pauljclarke Avatar pauljclarke

    Posted by pauljclarke at

    Just as a update - I'm working on cantacting eveyone back and getting your contact information.

    If you have not heard from me then as I have said below, please feel free to contact me direct on my email.



  • pauljclarke Avatar pauljclarke

    Posted by pauljclarke at

    Hi Again,

    Thanks for the great responce! I will be getting back to eveyone personally as soon as I can. I also like the idea of adding a pH probe!

    For now if your intrested then please email me, I have also had a registration page set up, so you can go to this link and enter your email address and details of what you can offer etc. I will then get back to you or send you all updates.


    ...or you can now follow the project on twitter and or facebook!


    Thanks and keep the comments comming!

  • mikykim74 Avatar mikykim74

    Posted by mikykim74 at

    I would like to participate in the project.


  • rachael Avatar rachael

    Posted by rachael at

    A part from Electronics I am a Tool Maker and have own workshop, If I can help in making machined parts and welded components just ask.

  • dzjon Avatar dzjon

    Posted by dzjon at

    Hi Paul,
    a big challenge and probably a logisyic nightmare to keep a worldwide project on track.
    But if you need an all-round technician with programming, sensoring, robotics (from the Netherlands) i am in.

    success John

  • ascii68 Avatar ascii68

    Posted by ascii68 at

    hi paul,
    grat idea and massive project. -engineers dream project :-)
    to get it working and put all together is
    a lot of work, for sure -respect.
    i will tell some of my colleagues and
    students. located in germany - bavaria.

    think about robust mechanical design,
    and keep in mind that earth is full of life.
    birds e.g. like moving objects and other beasts
    may also harm your vehicle while strolling
    around in d desert place
    ( otherwise it surely may get stolen, sad to say
    but real threat to this to hi-tech rover ).
    for longtime energy production, please use no
    nuclear thermal cells ;-)

    please keep me updated.
    skills: electronic design, mechanical expertise, welding specialist,
    favourite embedded: cypress psoc5/3
    radio amateur since 1983
    ( you will also need a ham licence
    for long distant autonomus communication of vehicle).

    keep on rocking dear paul, with a little help from many

  • kerneels62 Avatar kerneels62

    Posted by kerneels62 at

    Great idea.
    Will the earth rover store information or just relay it?
    Will it be able to monitor polution?
    Maybe magnetic fields?

  • middleirish Avatar middleirish

    Posted by middleirish at

    Great project! What about a pH probe?

  • javi@grupo-3.com Avatar javi@grupo-3.com

    Posted by javi@grupo-3.com at

    I like it, and if time permits I would like to participate in the project.
    I made automos driven vehicles bluetooth and internet controlled home automation

  • infinitronix Avatar infinitronix

    Posted by infinitronix at

    Very pleased to help. My CV available to view at www.tinyurl.com/ck4u42l explains my capabilities.

    Best Regards,

    Garth Wayne Haslam

  • lstacey Avatar lstacey

    Posted by lstacey at

    You're going to need someone to manage PR & engagement for the project...

    I'm in, if you want me!

  • marius810327 Avatar marius810327

    Posted by marius810327 at

    Hi Paul, great project idea. Would like to get involved when the time allows it.

  • bonzadog Avatar bonzadog

    Posted by bonzadog at

    Very interesting indeed and I'd like to take part on the project.
    Just send an email to me.
    I live in Germany

  • pauljclarke Avatar pauljclarke

    Posted by pauljclarke at

    Thanks for your feedback, vesy intrested in what you have to say.

    Please feel free to contact me on monpjc.blogs@gmail(dot)com

    Watch out for the follow up blogs, I'll be posting all the progress and lots more content on what else I have planed!


  • botthoughts Avatar botthoughts

    Posted by botthoughts at

    Sounds interesting! I have done quite a bit of work on my autonomous rover Data Bus. Happy to share what I know and contribute if time permits.


  • boss Avatar boss

    Posted by boss at

    Paul, great stimulating project idea. I will help where I can.

    I'm interested in designing a 'static' version of much of the sensors for a crowd sourced 'current' weather reporting system where as many people as possible generate data for a weather map.

    This would use amoung other parts "Camera for clouds, light detector, IR / UV levels for sunshine, temperature, %RH, wind speed, gas monitor for polution, (not planing a sound recorder), radiation levels for any incidents!, (not planing metal detector, gyro, compass, accelerometer), GPS could be useful for a mobile version and current location), (not planning a Radio (SDR), robot arm), so as you can see a lot in common on this part of your design.

    I doubt that I will ever complete my exercise on a grand scale, but there is a lot in common to share ideas and designs.

Leave a comment