Design of the Mars Terrain

Original Terrain Design

Original Terrain Design

My initial design was to have the rover inside of a sandbox construction that was enclosed by walls which were painted green so that a chroma key or greenscreen effect could be applied. After much consideration I have decided that should make a few changes to the design for the following reasons:

  • Cost of the materials
  • Time available
  • Weight of the materials for transportation purposes
  • Looseness of the sand for transportation purposes
  • Difficulty in making the greenscreen work with current video solution

The sand and the weight of the wood would probably mean that it would have to be assembled on site and then left assembled for the duration. The walls on each edge serve no purpose if the greenscreen effect is not present and only unnaturally box the rover in. I have decided to amend the design to feature much lighter materials that can easily be transported in pieces and put together easily on site. I have also decided to make the boundaries of the terrain feel more natural, and so intend to create ‘rocks’ out of readily available and relatively lightweight materials which creates an impasse at the edges of the terrain. The sand will be glued onto the board in a thin layer.


New Terrain Design



Creation of the Rover Body

Although the main purpose of the rover is that the user views everything from the on-board camera, I have decided that it would make it visually more appealing if it could be seen in its terrain environment afterwards and if it could resemble an actual Martian rover.

Having to use the RC car chassis however does limit what I am able to achieve, although it does provide a solid base from which to start.

Possible Materials:

ABS Plastic construction.

ABS Plastic construction struts and sheet material.

  • Strong
  • Easy to drill, saw and sand
  • Paintable
  • Easy to glue with poly cement

Balsa Wood

  • Light
  • Cheap
  • Easy to glue


  • Free
  • Widely available
  • Easy to cut
  • Lightweight


  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to glue and paint
  • Cheap

I decided that my initial design should be in cardboard due to the availability and economic benefits, and then could be more easily measured up for creation in balsa wood, plastic or foamboard.


Final Prototype Design