JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Sid Shrivastava got on track early in life.

While still a junior at Johns Creek High School, he helped collaborate with NASA to design new space exploration rovers.

Shrivastava began working on the project during the summer before his junior year. At the time, he was a dual enrollment student at Georgia Tech, which connected him to Daniel Goldman, one of the robotics professors working on the project.

“That gave me the opportunity to do research throughout the year, and then I continued with it,” Shrivastava said.

He continued working on the project the summer before his senior year in high school. Shrivastava currently studies mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech.

He led the creation of a miniature version of the RP15 rover, or the Mini Rover, equipped with wheels that utilize their surroundings to prevent the vehicle from becoming trapped.

“Prior rovers would get stuck if they went into loose, medium and steep hills.” Shrivastava said.

The front wheels of the Mini Rover stir up granular material, allowing the rover to climb steep hills. This also makes it less likely to get stuck than other rovers.

“After we gained some momentum with it, we reached out to the folks at Johnson Space Center, and they were curious to get involved and it turned into a collaboration,” Shrivastava said.

He said working on the project was a difficult but rewarding experience, and he has high hopes for its success.

“Learning how to ask the right research questions was definitely a struggle in the beginning, but it was also what made it exciting.” Shrivastava said. “I genuinely think it enables a much larger ability for the rover to explore. I’m just really excited for it to actually be employed in the real world.”

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