Friday, May 10th, 2013
By Eric Adams
Mini rover rolls into museum
Student model will pique visitors' 'curiosity'
  WAPAKONETA - It's one small model for a museum, but one giant educational tool for residents and local students alike.
Curio, a 1/4 scale fully-functional model of the Mars rover Curiosity, debuted Thursday afternoon at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta.
The six-wheel drive, remote-controlled model was a year-long effort by engineering students at Ohio Northern University. Junior Liz Spingola, an engineering education major and project manager for Curio, said one semester was devoted to planning, the other to construction.
"The whole scope of the project was rather large ... and the timeline was very strong," said Spingola. "(But) we were able to build what we had to build."
The engineering students acquired drawings from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located at the California Institute of Technology, to ensure accuracy.
"We wanted to make sure that we made it as true to the rover as possible," she said. "It was a very meticulous process."
Materials for the model also required creative innovation.
Curio's wheels were made from PVC pipe, while the masthead, which houses the model's camera, was developed through 3-D printing.
"That's basically when you take plastic and layer it on itself," Spingola said. "You take a computer aided drafting file ... and it prints out a 3D part."
Students also crafted the body and suspension themselves; Spingola said the only purchased parts were motors and "some electronics."
Eric Baumgartner, professor of mechanical engineering at ONU, said the idea was born during a summer meeting with museum director Chris Burton.
"(Burton) talked about the desire to expand the displays here, to go beyond the moon to Mars," said Baumgartner.
Burton originally asked Baumgartner where he might buy a Mars rover, which prompted a discussion about a concept Baumgartner had for a new student program at ONU's College of Engineering.
"EPICS or Engineering Projects in Community Service is a program at the university where you work with a community partner to find out what needs they have, then assemble a student team to address that need." said Baumgartner. "It sort of all came together at the same time."
Curio will now be on permanent display at Armstrong museum and will also make its rounds at several area schools.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Auglaize sales tax revenues up and rising
• Council on aging seeks levy
• Rule change: SWCDs must be proactive in addressing ag pollution
• Coldwater's boys and Marion Local's girls hold the early lead
• Eldora hosting TORC Series for the first time
• Bulldogs successful on first day of WBL tourney
• Zacharias' slam helps Celina top Northmont
a_d
Today
69°
Becoming Sunny
10%
Tonight
41°
Clear
Tomorrow
62°
Sunny
Tomorrow Night
47°
Mostly Clear
5%
Monday
75°
Partly Sunny
6%
Monday Night
61°
Partly Cloudy
13%
Tuesday
68°
Rain Showers Likely
72%
Tuesday Night
44°
Partly Cloudy
14%
Wednesday
55°
Mostly Cloudy
10%
Wednesday Night
37°
Partly Cloudy
6%
Thursday
55°
Mostly Cloudy
14%
Thursday Night
43°
Mostly Cloudy
16%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d
camera_logo Photo Albums
Friday, October 24
index pict
video_logoOnline Video
Thursday, October 2
index pict
Accident at 127 and 119
Monday, September 29
index pict
Grand Lake Marathon