University of Adelaide students have taken their passion for STEM to the road as part of a new initiative aimed at inspiring regional communities to pursue STEM and space career pathways.

The 15-strong student contingent including representatives from the university’s Adelaide Rover Team, rocket division and robotic hands project team, visited the Murray Mallee town of Pinnaroo recently to hold their first Rural STEM Expo, showcasing the possibilities in South Australia’s space industry.

Held at the Pinnaroo Football Club, more than 200 locals of all ages attended the Expo. The team also visited the local primary school for a Q&A session with students.

For Adelaide Rover Team Project Lead and fourth-year Computer Science student, Abigail Sparnon, it was a dream come true to take the Rural STEM Expo to her hometown of Pinnaroo.

“Programs like these are what help provide opportunities and pathways for rural students who often miss out on the experiences of their city counterparts, and I really hope to see more of these outreach programs occurring going forward,” Abigail said.

The visit also provided Adelaide Rover Team members with the unique opportunity to meet with the local farming community to learn more about developments in AgTech and the role robotics, automation, satellite technology and earth observation is playing in shaping advancements in the industry.

The University of Adelaide Rover Team The University of Adelaide Rover Team

Adelaide Rover Team member Georgia Dallimore who is studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, said the experience was a great learning opportunity for the rover team members.

“Having the opportunity to travel to rural SA and showcase both the work of the Adelaide Rover Team and the exciting careers available in STEM was an absolute highlight of this semester,” Georgia said. “It was inspiring speaking with the local community to learn more about cutting-edge space technology being used in the agricultural sector.”

Following the success of the Expo, the team is already planning more regional outreach activities for the new year, alongside their preparations for the 2023 Australian Rover Challenge.

The Australian Rover Challenge sees teams of students design and build a Rover that can compete in a full-scale, simulated lunar mission. It is one of only a handful of similar events around the world, providing a platform for students and universities to develop the technical and entrepreneurial skills needed to drive innovation across the growing space industry.

SASIC is a proud supporter of the Adelaide Rover Team. The team is currently finalising the design for upgrades to their Rover from the 2022 challenge. Manufacturing is set to commence soon, ahead of the event’s return to Adelaide in March 2023.

The Adelaide Rover Team’s preparation for the 2023 Challenge includes a record number of students focusing on various aspects of the build. University of Adelaide students interested in applying to join the team can contact detailing their year level, degree and any relevant experience.

Industry partners interested in sharing their expertise and providing mentorship to the team are also invited to get in touch.

Follow the journey of the Adelaide Rover Team on Facebook.