Students At Lycée Victor Duruy Take On The Challenge Of Mars Exploration

Douglas Quaid and his dream about going to Mars in Total Recall isn’t just a story reserved for the big screen. The students at the Lycée Victor Duruy high school in Bagnères-de-Bigorre also dream big when it comes exploring the red planet; minus the mutants, espionage, and rebels. In preparation for the 2009 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, a team of students from 17 schools in Toulouse, including Lycée Victor Duruy, designed a life-size replica of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mars Curiosity rover.

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Students with the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover at the 2009 Paris Air Show
In addition to teaching SolidWorks Education Edition in schools, Lycée Victor Duruy decided to give its students real-world experience by offering them the chance to work on the NASA Mars Curiosity rover, from the initial design to the working on the subassemblies involved in the product, and finally unveiling it at the Air Show. Working in SolidWorks, students collaborated and communicated with the other schools involved, all in one development platform while being exposed to different technical disciplines, such as IT/networks, electronic engineering, mechanics/industrial, and automation.

During the first year of the project phase, the steering committee (comprised of representatives of the Toulouse educational authority) added a competitive element to the design process to make it more realistic. Schools were challenged to create design specs for the rover’s mast and manipulator arm to present to the design selection committee. Winning the contest, Lycée Victor Duruy succeeded in creating an innovative design, which had forced them to apply their classroom knowledge to a real-world scenario.

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Asya Bashina

Asya Bashina

Subscription Services Marketing Specialist at Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Subscription Services Marketing Specialist. Brand Marketing pro and travel enthusiast with a sense of humor.
Asya Bashina
Asya Bashina