Rovers return to Drumheller Badlands for international competition

·1 min read

Drumheller was crawling with seemingly extra-terrestrial machines over the weekend as 12 post-secondary teams from the United States and Canada descended upon the community to compete in the 2022 Canadian International Rover Challenge (CIRC).

CIRC is hosted by the Canadian Space Technology Advancement Group (CSTAG), and the 2022 challenge marks the fifth summer competition held in Drumheller.

“The teams put in a phenomenal amount of work to put the rovers together, they work about one to two years to put them together,” shares CSTAG Director Justin Gerein.

CIRC challenges students to design and build a teleoperated rover to compete in several challenges simulating a disaster on a Martian settlement, and the unique landscape of the Badlands offers an otherworldly stage for the competition.

Teams will compete in a total of five challenges, including a night-time simulated search and rescue mission. Challenges were held at other locations, including Midland Provincial Park and the Badlands Community Facility (BCF).

Mr. Gerein says the organization has tried to plan for a winter competition for the last few years, as the cold temperatures would add another level of challenge for the design teams; these plans have not yet come to fruition due to external challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

He adds the Town of Drumheller has been very supportive of the challenge and hopes to attract more public spectators and interest in the future.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail