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Craft students control Mars rover in collaborative event

Students from the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State University had the once in a lifetime opportunity to remotely control a Mars rover on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Through a collaboration with Mission Control, a space exploration and robotics company operating out of Carleton University’s accelerator for entrepreneurs, eleven students from the Craft Academy who are currently taking classes in robotics, remote sensing, space science, computer programming mathematics and physics had the chance to control the rover, which is located on the Carleton University Campus in Ottawa, Canada.  

Craft Academy students were invited to participate in the event as part of a public outreach event aimed at highlighting US-Canadian collaboration in space. The event in Ottawa was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, as well as U.S. Energy, Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor John Hill and officials from the Canadian Space Agency.  

The students were given a simulated mission and navigated the rover around obstacles based on a 2D terrain map. Jen Carter, assistant director of academic services for the Craft Academy, said the mission gave students an opportunity to face some of the challenges real scientists experience.  

“The students learned about the challenges scientists and engineers at Mission Control deal with on real Mars and Lunar missions, including lack of high-resolution maps of the environment and lack of precision landing on Mars,” she said.

Craft students participating in the event include:

Sydney Winters, Catlettsburg

Haylee Winters, Catlettsburg

Alayna Bennett, Georgetown  

Josh Loicano, Burnside

Graham Wilson, Paducah

Austin Adams, Lawrenceburg

Lottie Maynard, Dana

Lily Cate Embury, Lexington

Shelby Fraley, Sandy Hook

Jake Williams, Union

Jeremiah Lowe, Turkey Creek

Chloe Hart, MSU Space Science undergraduate student, served as the mission operations manager for the event. Craft Academy students Loiacono, Bennet and Wilson conducted two successful test drives with Mission Control in preparation for the event and were the primary rover operators.  

For more information about the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics at Morehead State University, visit

For more information about space science at MSU, visit