Congratulations to 2nd year students, Dara Courtney, Sean Clerkin & Joshua Brandon who received their excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Award for their project “A Four Seasons Photovoltaic Self-Charging Rover – the Mars PSR”. The project generated plenty of interest on the day from the judges, the general public and Richard Bruton, TD. 

The students have been working on the Mars PSR for months and started by designing and making a protype using equipment found at home or in the lab. Then the second prototype design was completed on Solidworks. For the National Final Sean decided to impress the judges more by learning how to use a new CAD programme called Onshape to design the 3rd prototype of the Mars PSR. They decided to use solar cells on this design. Solar energy is often used to power space missions because it is the only source of energy that does not need to be launched with the spacecraft and can power the spacecraft for several years. Joshua ensured that the solar cells were working to power the PSR. Screenshot 20221126 074935 02

While relying on solar panels may seem risky in such a dusty environment on Mars but doing so lessens the amount of mass at launch, lowering cost and complication for the mission and therefore they decided to use solar cells, Joshua ensured they were wired up properly in order to function. It was decided that they needed to make some type of a vacuum system that would blow off the dust that clogs around the moving parts. NASA have had limited success themselves with this idea, but the students wanted to try something anyway and Dara made various protypes of hoover systems that could attach to a Mars Rover. The first two prototypes were designed to suck the dust from the Rover but the 3rd prototype for the final was reconstructed so that it would blow the dust from the solar panels. The finished design also included a microbit to take temperature, light intensity readings and a compass. 

The project had already won the ‘ESERO Discover Space Award’ and ‘Scifest 2022 Runner-Up Best Project Award’ in Dundalk I.T back in April, when they were only in 1st year, which was a remarkablet. achievement.Screenshot 20221126 074941 01 01Screenshot 20221126 074941 01

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Largy College, Post Primary School, Clones, Co Monaghan is part of the Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, Bord Oideachais agus Oiliúna Chabháin agus Mhuineacháin


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