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What’s bold, bright, pink and could explore Mars? The Monash Nova Rover team designed the Waratah rover to spark innovation and conversations.

Pink is an unusual colour for a rover. The team chose it to celebrate women in STEM and encourage more women to get involved in robotics.

Beyond its striking appearance, the Waratah rover also stood out in the University Rover Challenge, an international robotics competition. The Waratah came in second in the world for its ability to navigate a Mars-like terrain while completing complex tasks for time. These tasks ranged from detecting life in soil samples to rescuing modelled astronauts.

The student engineers behind the Waratah’s success worked hard on its stand-out features. For example, they designed and built the astronaut-lifting robotic arm from scratch. And unlike many other rovers, the Waratah’s software allows it to navigate challenging Mars-like terrain autonomously – all on its own.

Outside of competitions, the Monash Nova Rover team also teaches engineering skills to primary and high school students. By showcasing the Waratah rover, the team hopes they can help more people become comfortable in learning about robotics and engineering, regardless of their gender.

“The pink rover has brought a bunch of different people to support a very complicated cause,” says Chloe Chang, a leader from the Monash Nova Rover team.

Double Helix thanks Parmis Hassani and the entire Nova Rover Team for sharing their expertise and experiences, on which this article is based.

The Monash Nova Rover team in dark uniform in a desert setting, lined up for a photo with their pink rover.

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