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Octanis 1


The aim of this mission, Octanis 1, is to provide a low-cost, low environmental impact rover platform for scientific experiments in cold to extremely cold environments. The rover will be small and light-weight enough to be carried on weather balloons. Its design will allow it to traverse icy terrain and be resistant to wind gusts. It will generate its own power with solar panels and regulate internal temperature as it's first priority. The rover will be on a four-wheel drive platform, each wheel being on a controllable strut, allowing it to drive in any orientation and right itself should it flip over.


A weather-proof, cold-resistant and light-weight rover shall be built that has a simple but solid hardware and software design. The rover must be able to complete a mission autonomously with assistance where necessary. A mission contains a movement path and sensing actions to be executed. Interrupting or aiding commands to be executed by the rover can be sent via the Internet to the rover. Energy generation and storage shall be dealt with in such a way that a mission can continue for several months without human interception.


The rover shall carry sensors on board to regularly record and transmit the state of the external and internal environment in a given location. It should provide a standard interface so that scientific instruments can be embedded and exchanged in a simple manner. All data transmitted to and from the rover shall be publicly available on the Internet in real-time. The rover shall have an interface to participate in a wider spread sensor network so that future rovers can work as a swarm.


Various methods of deploying the rover, long and short range, shall be evaluated and compared. Their costs and risks shall be weighed.

Open & Reproducible

We are building Octanis based on the principles of the open source movement. All documentation, software and 3D models are available on our website for anyone to download, re-use and modify or even contribute. We use off-the-shelf parts where possible so that anyone with sufficient skills can build their own version of Octanis. We use fabrication techniques, like 3D printing, available to anyone having access to a workshop, fab lab or hackerspace . Access to these infrastructures is in many places available to everybody and at a low cost.