From Fife to Mars : Lock down born venture looks to the red planet

18th October 2021

Stuart Rogers of Cerebral Ape was working in the Science Communication sector for a well known engineering institution before being made redundant along with many other colleges in the early to mid pandemic.

And as many people turned to virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom for work and keeping in touch with friends and family, Stuart took this as inspiration for a unique business idea.

The Mission to Mars Experience run by his LTD company Cerebral Ape allows participants to control a real robotic rover via zoom over a large realistic model Martian landscape. The rover has in-built webcams that participants can use to help navigate over the terrain along with tank tracks and a grabbing claw, the aim is to use all these tools along with some problem solving skills to complete tasks and challenges on the landscape.

The experience can be delivered as an educational or team building experience and has had glowing reviews from Science Festivals, teachers, team leaders and even space contractors.

Stuart Rogers says "we are about to enter a new era in space exploration, from new space telescopes like the James Webb to interplanetary rockets like the Starship there is so much to be excited about. The Mission to Mars Experience aims to capture some of that excitement and deliver a unique immersive, educational, rewarding and above all fun workshop.

What is great about the experience is that people can control the rover from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. Also the dynamic is very similar to real NASA rover command centres because just like in real life Mars rover missions you are nowhere near the machine you are controlling. Stuart said "I have had some limited consultation with real Nasa rover pilots and they commented that the emphasis on teamwork and collaboration is very realistic".

Stuart holds a honours degree in Marine Ecology and has also developed a similar activity based around using a rover to explore the deep sea which was launched as part of Orkney International Science Festival. This session focuses on teaching participants all about the amazing deep sea environment and why it is vital this ecosystem is preserved.

After featuring in some local press Stuart has now joined the Fife Chamber of commerce and looks forward to engaging with more business in Fife, he also has plans for other experiences and events and is keen to get involved with the DYW program and the 3D printing initiative led by Fife Council.

If you are interested in booking the Mission to Mars or Dive into the Deep experience please contact [email protected].

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