Abstract

For several years, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), the only public university in the nation’s capital and a land-grant university, has participated in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. The Rover Challenge participants are tasked with designing and fabricating a two-person human-powered rover capable of traversing a course designed by NASA to simulate various terrain. Based on the success over the years, a team was once again formed in 2020 to improve the previous design and develop students’ areas of proficiency in additive manufacturing and sensor integration. This was done by leveraging UDC’s new NASA-funded Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Space Technology & Applied Research (CAM-STAR) and its additive manufacturing facilities. In this paper, the authors will introduce the rover competition for 2020, new changes for the competition, and UDC team’s news design, AM produced parts for the rover, and lesson learned and plan forward. This paper will also discuss how a diverse population of students were engaged and their feedback on this experiential learning experience. Lastly, this paper will also discuss the impact of infusing cutting-edge technology (i.e., Additive Manufacturing) in STEM project and how it has helped attract students and increase their career readiness.

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