MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — After some fierce competition from teams all across the world, a robotics team made up of WVU students has been crowned the best on Earth.

According to a release from WVUToday, Team Mountaineers faced off against dozens of other teams across 10 countries to see who could build the next generation of Mars rovers in the 2023 University Rover Challenge. From May 31 to June 3 the teams faced off in Hanksville, Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station.

“Each team competed in the System Acceptance Review and four missions including equipment servicing, extreme delivery, science, and autonomy for 100 points each,” explained Yu Gu, team faculty adviser and mechanical and aerospace engineering associate professor. “This is the second time for WVU to compete in Utah with Team Mountaineers showing outstanding leadership, teamwork and technical skills.”

The student-led team was made up of more than 75 undergraduate students and five graduate student mentors across several different degree programs. 11 members made the trip to Utah and were comprised of mechanical and aerospace engineering students.

The full roster is as follows:

  • Stephen Jacobs, team lead and graduate student
  • Robert Cook
  • Daniel McDonald
  • Eamonn Payton
  • Spencer Regnier
  • Kendra Gillo
  • Michael Lemon
  • Riley McAllister
  • Malik Mukdadi
  • Shubh Patel
  • Zachary Waddell

“Last year, we learned a huge amount,” Jacobs said. “Before going to finals, we only had pictures of the terrain and competition elements to base our design and strategy. This year, we used our firsthand experience to greatly improve our rover and past experiences also taught us that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. We spent many hours anticipating, fixing and mitigating problems and it paid off in the end.” 

On top of winning the overall competition, the team received top scoring in multiple categories. The team received a perfect score of 100 in the Science Mission which involved soil sample collection. The team also placed first in the Extreme Retrieval and Delivery Mission.