Arduino Mars Rover

My daughters and I make Arduino-based robots for fun. Recently, we were asked by the New York Hall of Science (the hands-on science museum in New York) to build them a functional Mars Rover for their permanent Mars exhibit. The robot includes an Arduino Mega as the main controller, an xbee radio, six steering servos, six motors, a custom-built NASA-style rocker-bogie suspension system, eight Maxbotix sonars for object avoidance, a high-resolution wifi webcam with infrared detection, a thermopile array thermal sensor, a targeting laser, a pan servo, and so on. When it is installed in a couple of months, kids and other visitors to the museum will be able drive the Mars Rover remotely using a special Control Station. Their mission will be to roam around the exhibit and use the infrared camera to find special infrared-emitting rocks that provide one of the clues to finding evidence of past life on Mars. Lots of pictures, a couple of videos, and the build log are here:

NASA is calling, they want their robot back...


Man, it's AMAZING... Really a great work.

Thanks for sharing, thanks for the blog photos and video ;)

This is extremely impressive. How long did it take to build this one. Just took a look at your website. All the other projects are well crafted.


Thank you, guys. I really appreciate it. It's great to be able to finally share it with the Arduino world and see what everyone thinks. We wanted to do a good job on it, but we weren't certain how it would all turn out. @Mario: We've been working on it about 7 weeks so far. The robot itself is pretty much done and now we're working on the Control Station software.

wow amazing work

you're the coolest dad ever

I believe that is the best homebuilt robot I have ever seen. Absolutely remarkable.

I would give you my credit card for a schematic and BOM of your CNC machine.. You could make a fortune off the plans alone. I would be the first to purchase of course.

Imagine the dialog:

- What does your daddy do? - He builds robots similar to the ones NASA sends to Mars!

I can think of only one thing cooler than that:

- What does your daddy do? - He's an astronaut... his name's Neil Armstrong.

Anyhow, I bet your daughters are very proud of you... I don't even know you and I am proud to be in the same forum as you. Congrats!

That's a really good-looking build, well done.

I'm in NYC at the end of May - where is the museum?

AWOL: That's a really good-looking build, well done.

I'm in NYC at the end of May - where is the museum?

I think it's this one.


really nice work. Congratulations on the robot and the daughters. Best regards Jantje

Thanks for the wonderful feedback everyone. It's very encouraging. :)

Yes, it's the New York Hall of Science, which is here:

We are tentatively planning on installing the new robot sometime in June to do some initial testing. I don't have a date yet for the official launch. When it goes on line in the museum, I'll post it here so everyone knows. By the way, the NYSCI is also the location of the New York MakerFaire in the fall.

Wow! Another amazing build! I'm never disappointed to see your work, though I am a bit jealous, mainly at the fact that I don't have the knowledge, time, experience, skills, tools, etc - to even try to attempt what you do! I'm lucky if I can get the JB Weld to stick, or drill a straight hole in some aluminium to bodge together some craptastic mechanism. That is, when I have the motivation to actually work on something (why must I have bills, and why must the time in a day be so damn finite?).

I'll never tire of seeing your work though, if only for inspiration at what is possible!

BTW - do you get people knocking at your door to do movie props or other such things? I mean, do you monetize any of your work, because it seems like if you don't/aren't - you're missing out on an insane opportunity! Heck, even if you just came up with part designs and sold them to CNC enthusiasts (or had them manufactured for other robotic hobbyists) - you could make some money off those insane skills!


Beautiful craftsmanship there rb451. It must be great to share this type of work with your amazingly talented daughters... makes me regret not having children of my own XD And to think that I only came to this section of the forum to post a photo of my inconsequential little eight LED test array. Oh well back to the drawing board and thanks so much for sharing this with us mere mortals.

Nice work and thank you for sharing! Your work inspired my kids to build something similar. However, time and budget was a constraint so we had to scale down. Here is the preliminary result:

Nice job cagiva :D