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NASA Curiosity Rover DIY

NASA Curiosity Rover DIY

DIY Robots

Ever wanted to have your Students build their own Mars rover? The Nasa Curiosity rover is an open source, build it yourself, scaled down version of the 6-wheel rover design and created by JPL and NASA uses to explore the surface of Mars. This kit is intended to be a teaching and learning experience for those who want to get involved in mechanical engineering, software, electronics, or robotics.

The kit includes:

  • +100 parts and tools to build one Rover

  • 1 Controller

  • RobotLAB Support

  • 1 Engage! K12 classroom license for 1 year (lesson plans, activities and tutorials)


Price: $8,490

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  • Main Features

    build it yourself, scaled down version of the 6 wheel rover design that JPL uses to explore the surface of Mars.

  • Educational value

    engineering, software, Electronics, Robotics.

  • What’s in the box?

    +100 parts and tools to build one Rover, 1 Transport Case, 1-year Warranty and RobotLAB Support, 1 Engage! K12 classroom license for 1 year (lesson plans, activities, and tutorials)

  • Mobile / stationary

    Mobile and stationary robots

  • Autonomy


  • Student to robot ratio

    1 kit per 5 students

  • Best for

    High School, Library, Summer Camp

  • Grade Level

    9 through 12

  • Curriculum

    Electrical subsystem Documentation 

  • Professional Development / Training

    No training required – available as an option

  • Warranty

    1-year warranty


About the Project


JPL is always looking to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and roboticists to help us explore and learn about our solar system (and beyond!). We release the plans for this Curiosity rover as a way to try and give budding enthusiasts a fun robotics project that will help teach them and get them involved in robotics sooner and at a lower cost.


Specifications & Technical Attributes

The specific attributes of the robot you build will depend slightly on the type of electronics and motors you buy for the system. The numbers shown below are for the version of the robot that contains exactly the parts that we suggest in our build documents and parts list. Below, you can see which parts could be changed for which spec upgrades.

Attribute Value [imperial] Value [SI]
Weight 25 [lbs] 11.34[kg]
Footprint 24x14 [in] 60.96x30.48 [cm]
Battery Capacity 5200 [mAh] 5200 [mAh]
Battery Discharge Rate 8 [A] 8 [A]
Nominal Current Draw 1.2 [A] 1.2 [A]
Operating time 5 [hrs] (continual use) 5 [hrs] (continual use)
Approximate Max speed 9.7 [in/s] 24.6 [cm/s]
Maximum 90 deg vertical scale 12 [in] 30.48 [cm]
Maximum height differential between sides 14 [in] 35.56 [cm]
Communication (in this guide) Bluetooth app (Android only) and Xbox Controller  


This rover is designed to function similarly to the 6 wheel rover designs on Mars and employs a few of the major driving mechanics that the Mars rovers use to traverse rocky surfaces:

  • Rocker-Bogie: The Rocker-Bogie suspension system allows all 6 wheels to continually be in contact with the ground while climbing over obstacles
  • Differential Pivot: Allows the weight to be mechanically offloaded from one side of the rover to the other while climbing
  • 6-Wheel Ackerman Steering: Driving and steering/turning mechanism that governs where the wheels point and how fast each of them will move.
We chose a Raspberry Pi to be the "brain" of this rover for its versatility, accessibility, simplicity, and ability to add and upgrade your own modifications. Any method with which you can communicate with a Raspberry Pi (Bluetooth, WiFi, USB devices, etc) can be interfaced into the control system of the robot.
Rover communication



Skills Necessary

This project has elements in mechanical assembly/fabrication, uses a host of electrical components, and has software that will run it all. In order to complete this project, you will need to have some experience in the following:

  • Fabrication/Machining: Although most the parts are COTS there are a few modifications necessary to adapt them to the project. These modifications will be in the form of
    • Metal cutting using band saw/dremel
    • Drilling using drill press/hand drill
    • Filing and sanding for part cleanup
    • General Fabrication/Machining Safety
  • Electronics: This project uses components like motors, motor controllers, and batteries. It will be important to have experience with the following electrical processes.
    • Soldering
    • Electrical debugging
    • Wiring
    • Electrical Safety
  • Software: The rover's brain is a Raspberry Pi. Included in this repository is all the software ready to run the rover, but some knowledge is required for getting everything up and ready on the Raspberry Pi:
    • Basic Linux familiarity
    • Basic Python familiarity
Most of the above are skills that you can learn and pick up fairly quickly from watching videos and doing research on the internet, and throughout the project, we try to give supplemental information on some of these as well. See the build documents for more information.


Available Documents

NASA Curiosity Rover DIY

DIY Robots

Price: $8,490

Starting from*


Frequently Asked Questions About The NASA Rover DYI

What kind of device is needed to program the NASA Curiosity Rover?

RobotLAB recommends several months to build the NASA Curiosity Rover

Read more on RobotLAB.com

How do students control the NASA Curiosity Rover?

Students will utilize an Xbox controller or Android App as a remote control for the NASA Curiosity Rover

Read more on RobotLAB.com

How many students does it take to build the NASA Curiosity Rover?

RobotLAB recommends the same 5 students build the entire kit as it is a multiple day project.

Read more on RobotLAB.com

Is there warranty available with the NASA Curiosity Rover?

There is a one-year manufacturing warranty included with the purchase of each NASA Curiosity Rover kit

Read more on RobotLAB.com

Can the NASA Curiosity Rover be used outside?

Students can build the NASA Curiosity Rover indoors as there are many parts. Once build, the NASA Curiosity Rover can be driven outside, avoiding any water for longer use.

Read more on RobotLAB.com

NASA Curiosity Rover DIY

DIY Robots

Price: $8,490

Starting from*