Building Lunar Rover from Scratch


Skarabeusz Mars rover, Ares 2 and the underwater robot – Polish students are at the forefront of science.

Welcome to advanced, internationally known projects performed by students of the Warsaw University of Technology. Mars rover,  underwater robot, stratospheric platform – are just some of the projects they are developing. We asked Tomasz Miś from the Student Astronautical Group how 3D printing technology affects development of these projects.

Zortrax: Could you say more about upcoming projects?
Tomasz Miś: Now we’re working on 3 big projects: the underwater robot Migot2, Mars rover Ares2 and an automatic Mars research vehicle – the Skarabeusz. The Migot2 takes part in the Marine Advanced Technology Education 2015 competition held in Canada in June. The Ares2 is built for the University Rover Challenge 2015 held in Hanksville, Utah in May.

Z: Why have you decided to implement 3D printing?
TM: 3D printing allows us to recreate elements with complex shapes such as nozzle for underwater robot Migot 2 formed of an inverted airfoil or a new body for Skarabeusz (Mars rover). It also helps us to reduce the weight of parts – an important feature for contests. Rapid prototyping is crucial when it comes to timing – during the project we need to test parts, re-design it if necessary until it fits perfectly and 3D printing allows us to do so.

Skarabeusz with 3D printer reflectors
Skarabeusz with 3D printed reflectors

Z: What is your biggest success?

TM: We have designed and built the first artificial satellite in Poland (together with Space Research Center of Polish Academy of Science) – the PW-Sat.
Our second big success was designing the Mars rover – Skarabeusz, the first Polish Mars rover. He took part in the University Rover Challenge 2009 and gained the position among world leaders.
Our lunar rover Husar took part in Lunabotics Mining Competition winning a prize unforeseen by the competition – the Perseverance Award.

Z: The Perseverance Award?
TM: Yes, the courier has lost packages containing the most important elements, so our team re-built the robot from the scratch! The jury appreciated our effort…
In 2014 our underwater robot Migot1 won the Black Sea ROV Competition. The Baloon and Rocket section is regularly flying to troposphere and stratosphere.

Z: What kind of components are you planning to 3D print now?
TM: Within the next month we plan to design  6 components printed by Zortrax specialists. The most important ones are reflectors and the body for the Skarabeusz and nozzles for underwater robot Migot2.


Z: You’re working on Skarabeusz body with the Academy of Fine Arts?
TM: Yes, we decided that Skarabeusz deserves better finishing. He’s meaningful not only to us but to the scientific world in general. The Design Department agreed to cooperate in order to exchange the old, trivial case. They’re focused on ergonomics, so designed components would be easily printed on the M200.

Z: Thank you!

The Student Astronautical Group at the Warsaw University of Technology was founded in 1995 and it associates students interested in astronautics. The group is developing several different projects – from sounding rockets, moon rover, to underwater robots. The first Polish artificial satellite PW-Sat was built by the group and launched into the Earth orbit in 2012. Now they’re working on its bigger version – the PW-Sat2.
Group took part in many prestigious contests such as University Rover Challenge, European Rover Challenge, REXUS/BEXUS (Rocket/Balloon EXperiments for University Students), Marine Advanced Technology Education and the Balloon Challenge. Members of the group are cooperating with institutions and companies related to space industry: the European Space Agency, Astri and more.