26.09.2018 change 26.09.2018

Outdoor Martian field in Starachowice near Kielce

An outdoor Martian field has been prepared for the European Rover Challenge at the Museum of Nature and Technology in Starachowice. Special soil has a rusty colour and similar hematite content as the soil on Mars.

A special Martian track was built for the European Rover Challenge at the Museum of Nature and Technology in Starachowice. "We have prepared special rust-coloured soil that has a similar content of hematite - iron oxide - as the soil on Mars" - says Łukasz Wilczyński.

He explains that the soil comes from a nearby mine and is usually used for completely different purposes. Due to the fact that it is heavy and hard, it is used as a base layer in road construction.

"First, of course, we had to secure the area. (...) We had to follow the conservator`s guidelines. We did a special drainage, prepared drains, and then we could apply the soil" - explains Wilczyński. He says that the nearby buildings have been secured "so that nothing could be accidentally dusted here".

After the competition, the track has to be properly secured. "We can not allow the dolomite waste to escape outside the competition area. This is the conservator`s guideline. The track will remain covered until the next competition" - says Tomasz Kordeusz, director of the Jan Pazdur Museum of Nature and Technology EKOMUZEUM in Starachowice.

According to Kordeusz, any plans to use this area after the competition require obtaining the permission of the conservator in each instance.

The European Rover Challenge (ERC) is a prestigious competition of Mars robots constructed by student teams. The winner of this year`s edition was the team "Impuls" from the Kielce University of Technology.

The ERC is the European version of the well known University Rover Challenge held in the United States. The first edition of the ERC was organized in 2014.

The first two editions of the ERC were held at the Regional Science and Technology Centre in Podzamcze Chęcińskie near Kielce. The third edition, by the decision of the organizing committee, was moved to Podkarpacie (the event took place in Jasionka near Rzeszów).

This year, the event returned to the Świętokrzyskie province and took place in mid-September at the Museum of Nature and Technology in Starachowice. (PAP)

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