NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is running a public challenge to develop an obstacle avoidance sensor for a possible future Venus rover. The "Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover" challenge is seeking the public's designs for a sensor that could be incorporated into the design concept.



Venus is an extreme world. With a surface temperature in excess of 840 degrees Fahrenheit and a surface pressure 90 times that of Earth, Venus can turn lead into a puddle and crush a nuclear-powered submarine with ease. While many missions have visited our sister planet, only about a dozen have made contact with the surface of Venus before quickly succumbing to the oppressive heat and pressure.

How would you go about building such an extremophile bot? What materials could withstand the high temperatures, pressures and low PH?  Would normal space suitable components work, or would they have to be designed from first principles?  Could a robot be built and tested in a pressurised environment in a lab on earth?  How would you power such a bot, its unlikely that the tried and tested solar power would work on Venus, perhaps wind?

The great minds of Active Robots customers have previously risen to some of the most difficult challenges, with robots and rovers in the deep ocean, in space, on Mars and much more but can they rise to this immense task? Let us know if you're going to have a go.