University teams from all over the world have been completing tasks all over the valley for the Canadian International Rover Competition (CIRC).

Teams have designed their own space exploration vehicle and taken them out in the valley because the landscape reflects a very familiar planet far, far away.

"The reason we are actually in Drumheller is we like the environment and the terrain: so its dry, its hot, there is a lot of areas without grass, it has a higher in oxide content. It is a good simulation for a Mars environment. So with that, a lot of the teams got to be in lots of different areas and see the natural environment of Drumheller," explained CIRC organizer Justin Gerein.

The groups started challenges on Friday evening and carried throughout the weekend.

"The one that started Friday evening was the search and rescue challenge. This occurred overnight at a town land property in Rosedale. Teams were challenged to locate an astronaut that had been down so they received a GPS way point for where they had to go and find the astronaut with the rovers, and then patch their suit," continued Gerein.

The team hopes to return to the valley next year with the conference.

"This is a very large time investment for the students. Some spend up to a 40 hours a week, some students only spend about 5 hours a week. It really depends with what the different teams are trying to accomplish and how invested the students are. But most of them do not get any extra credit for them, so it is just an extra activity that they choose to do during their degree," concluded Gerein.

First place was awarded to Oregon State University Club Rover Club with 287.08 points.

Second Place went to the ARGO team from the Bialystok University of Technology in Poland with 159.79.

Third place went to the Carleton Planetary Robotics Team from Ottawa with 116.03.

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