Free the MSL Robot

What’s a planetary rover?

EV3 Classroom-Programs 0-program en-us

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) robot is a radioisotope thermoelectric-powered rover that’s been exploring the Martian surface since 2012.

How can planetary rovers like the MSL robot help humans explore other planets?

The MSL robot is stuck!


Free the MSL robot from the crater so it can continue on its mission to study the Martian surface. This is an expensive robot and we urgently need your help to free it!

Think of ways your robot could free the MSL robot from the crater and return it to the Martian surface.

Brainstorm ideas for solving the mission.


You can split the main task into smaller subtasks, and brainstorm on questions like:

  • Can you think of some ways the robot could navigate to the crater?
  • Which type of motorized mechanism can be used to free the MSL robot?

Build, program, and test your robot.


Continue working on your robot until you’re ready to complete the mission.


Achievement Badges

The four levels of badges you can earn for this mission are:

Platinum Badge
Phew! You’ve rescued the MSL robot from the crater. All six of its wheels are back on the Martian surface and it’s ready to continue its mission. You also went beyond the mission requirements by adding features to your design. Great job!

Gold Badge
You’ve rescued the MSL robot from the crater. All six of its wheels are back on the Martian surface and it’s ready to continue its mission. You did well completing this very important task and achieved the objective. Science thanks you!

Silver Badge
You’ve moved the MSL robot from its original position but it’s still touching the crater or some of its wheels aren’t touching the Martian surface. Despite these problems, we still think we can free it. Thanks for all of your hard work!

Bronze Badge
The MSL robot hasn’t been removed from the crater but a clear attempt has been made. You should be pleased with yourself. We’ll have to send out another robot to free it, but we’re glad you tried.

Go for it!


Set up your robot in the base area and send it out for a judged attempt at this mission.

Mission Rules

Remember to follow these rules when you attempt to complete the mission:

  • Your robot must always start the mission from the base area.
  • Your robot must leave the base area before carrying out the mission.
  • A “successful robot return” occurs when any part of the robot crosses over any part of the base area line.
  • You’re not allowed to touch your robot while it’s outside of the base area.
  • If you touch your robot while it’s completely outside of the base area and it’s holding an object, the object must be returned to its original position and you must begin the mission again.

How did you do?


Which badge did you get? If you have time, you can try again to get a better result.

The MSL robot is back on track… on to your next mission!