NASA: This year’s event incorporates two new and important changes. by Angela Storey via Marshall Space Flight Center
'Teams now are required to design and fabricate their own wheels. Any component contacting the course surface for traction and mobility, including, but not limited to wheels, tracks, treads or belts cannot be purchased or considered an off-the-shelf product. As in years past, teams are not allowed to incorporate inflated, or un-inflated, pneumatic tires.
'The second new feature is an optional Sample Return challenge. Teams competing in this separate competition will collect four samples -- liquid, small pebbles, large rocks and soil samples -- using a mechanical arm or grabber they design and build.
'Hosted by Marshall, the Human Exploration Rover Challenge highlights NASA’s goals for future exploration to Mars and beyond. Inspired by the lunar roving vehicles of the Apollo moon missions, the competition challenges students to solve engineering problems, while highlighting NASA's commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.'