An inventive group of students in the Iowa State University Cardinal Space Mining Club visited Vermeer Corporation on Feb. 8. Over the course of the school year, the group designs, manufactures and tests a specialized rover to compete in the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center.
The rover the students compete with has striking similarities to a Vermeer trencher. Vermeer trenchers have cut through some of the world’s toughest landscapes, making the experts at Vermeer a valuable resource for students. This connection was apparent as the students toured the “Big Iron” in Plant 3. They were able to see how a manufacturing facility operates as well as get a photo with one of our Terrain Levelers.
The students wrapped up their visit learning more about Vermeer from President and CEO Jason Andringa and sharing the highlights and challenges of their rover and the competition. Before his time at Vermeer, Jason worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an engineer from 2001 through 2005 and still has a strong interest in projects like this.