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Senior Design Capstone Project

TerraNova Logo.png

The exploration of lunar caves is vital to scientific progression because it provides valuable insights into the Moon’s geologic history and complex topology. Lunar subterranean research could pave the way for the establishment of safe habitation for humans or mining operations for precious materials embedded in the Moon’s rocky crust.


The objective of the TerraNova project is to enable the exploration of these uncharted lunar subterranean spaces. TerraNova developed a hybrid jumping and wheeled mechanical robot to spring over boulders and efficiently navigate long, dark caverns.


TerraNova’s spring-based jumping mechanism exerts 215 lbf. to launch the robot to a height of one meter under lunar gravity. TerraNova has four-wheel drive and front-wheel differential steering. An active rocker suspension system, a novel application of advanced motor control, ensures that all four wheels remain in even contact with the surface. This functionality all fits within a robot weighing less than 20 lbs., resulting from diligent finite element analysis and topology optimization to eliminate unnecessary material.


TerraNova is a novel all-terrain jumping and wheeled robot uniquely designed to explore the unknown.


I worked extensively on the mechanical design of the jumping mechanism and the integrated computer-aided design of the several robot subsystems. I manufactured the majority of the robot’s components, including all carbon fiber components, and spearheaded assembly efforts. I served as TerraNova’s project manager – planning the project timeline, monitoring team status, managing team logistics, and organizing deliverables.

TerraNova was awarded the William K. Gemmill Memorial Prize for outstanding creativity in the MEAM Senior Design Day Competition. At the SEAS Senior Design Day Competition, the team earned an Honorable Mention. TerraNova also was awarded Second Place out of over 80 teams in the Cornell Cup 2019 Competition, a national collegiate and graduate level engineering competition. 

Click here to download the TerraNova poster.

Click here to download the full project report.

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