Ice Core Drilling: Sampling Task


Recent explorations have uncovered a site containing water ice. Preliminary surveying work has identified and marked three sites for potential wells. Your rover must carry out a more detailed exploration. Travel to and document each of these sites and collect an ice sample while avoiding hazardous patches of thin ice.

A map of the area showing the sample sites and hazardous regions will be provided prior to the competition.



  1. Travel to the three sample collection sites:
    1. Record the route taken using GPS waypoints.
    2. Navigate around the simulated regions of thin ice. Teams which enter these regions will be required to return to the point at which they went out of bounds (as designated by the judge) and three points will be deducted from their final score for each entry.
  2. At each site:
    1. Photograph the drilling site and the surrounding area.
    2. Record the GPS coordinates of the marked sampling area.
    3. Take a panorama photograph at the drilling site. A minimum of 180o is required, with 360o required for full points.
    4. Drill a test hole to a depth of at least 10 cm (maximum 20 cm) in the ice from the marked drilling area (the area will be <30 cm across). Collect the removed material for further analysis. Keep the samples from each site separate.
  3. Return all samples to the starting point.


  1. Following completion of the rover’s time on the task site, teams will have two hours (starting either when the team leaves the site or when the team’s task time is up, whichever comes first) to collate their findings, and write and submit a report of up to 2000 words (excluding references, if present) on their execution of the task and their findings. Reports should be submitted to the judges via the Slack workspace dedicated to the event. No reports will be accepted after three hours. The report must include:
    1. Abstract:
      1. Summarize the situation and the purpose of the report, and provide a high-level overview of the procedure and findings.
    2. Search procedure and route:
      1. Show a map of the search area. Indicate on the map the route taken by the rover, the extents of each site, and the locations of any landmarks, navigational hazards, or other features of interest spotted during the survey.
      2. Provide an explanation of why this route was taken.
    3. Report on sites:
      1. State the GPS coordinates recorded at each site.
      2. Show the panorama photograph of each site. Indicate the direction from which the site was approached.
      3. Describe the samples collected and comment on the composition.
      4. Provide a recommendation for the site of the main well based on your observations in the field and analysis of the samples.

Judge’s Commentary