Project Description

About the Mission

The Tumbleweed is a next-generation Mars rover to enable large-scale rapid exploration. The spherical rovers have a diameter of about 5 m and are engineered to perfectly harness the Martian winds. To get the Tumbleweed rovers to Mars, they can be collapsed into discs. This reduces the space they need to be transported by a rocket and helps them decelerate in their descent toward the Martian surface as they unfold mid-air after being deployed. Dropped in swarms over the Martian poles, strong winds propel the rovers towards the equator. On their way, they do not only collect valuable data on temperature, atmospheric pressure, and imaging but also carry out experiments with sensors previously integrated by external researchers using a standardized interface.

Current approaches to Mars exploration are extremely expensive, slow, and encompass a high risk of failure. In bringing the CubeSat concept to Mars, we aim to make the Red Planet accessible for researchers, universities and everyone else.

Rendering of the Tumbleweed Mars rover in a simulated desert landscape
Tumbleweed team member

About the Team

We are an interdisciplinary group of young, entrepreneurial scientists. In over 5 years of experience building several Mars rover prototypes and learning from big players in the space industry, we have gathered the knowledge, contacts, and resources to push the project toward the next goal: a Mars-proof prototype.
Our subteams range from engineering over business to marketing, with around 40 members in total. With main branches in Vienna (AUT) and Delft (NL), Team Tumbleweed brings together people from over 20 countries. United under our common goal, we think and act globally.

Important Events


Begin of development of the Tumbleweed Mars rover concept for the Odysseus Space Contest.


The team wins 1st place at the national, regional, and international final of the competition and begins developing a new prototype.


A prototype of the Tumbleweed rover is sent to the Oman desert for testing as part of the ÖWF AMADEE-18 mission.


With the founders As Moritz begins to study at Stanford University in the United States and Julian moves to the Netherlands to attend the TU Delft, Team Tumbleweed goes international.


Team Tumbleweed is officially an Incubatee of ESA Business Incubation Centre Austria! Their support through funding and invaluable expertise is an essential in bringing the Tumbleweed to Mars.


Team Tumbleweed once again partakes in an ÖWF AMADEE mission: the AMADEE-21 goes to the Negev desert in Israel to test the newest version of the prototype.


Team Tumbleweed is split into various departments with around 40 active members from countries all over the world, mainly Austria and the Netherlands. Each team works on a different aspect of developing a Mars-grade rover prototype.

’24-’29: NEXT STEPS

Team Tumbleweed makes the transition to a company and performs tests with the design. Necessary steps in marketing and building the Tumbleweed rovers are taken.


After up to 90 Tumbleweeds have been produced and all payloads are integrated, Team Tumbleweed can start their first mission to Mars.

Rover Images

Team Images


Logos are available in black, white and orange.
Icon (high resolution)


Rothenbuchner, J., Kingsnorth, J., Cuervo, K., Renoldner, M., Kapadia, M., Wiesen, P., Harris, S., & Resinck, M. (2022). Initial Pre-Phase A study of the Tumbleweed Demonstrator Mission.

Press Coverage

Neuer Rover aus Wien: Von Liesing auf den Mars (Die FURCHE, August 2022) (German)

Windgetriebene Rover sollen bald den Mars erobern (, 30.08.2022) (German)

Deep Space For Everyone (Maxwell – Electroechnische Vereenigung, Issue 24.3, December 2021) (English)

Tumbleweed: Wie zwei Wiener Schüler einen Mars-Rover erfanden (Trending Topics, 01.09.2020) (German)

Wr. Neustädter Space-Startup Tumbleweed: Von der Garage bis zum Mars (der brutkasten, 08.06.2020) (German)

Team Tumbleweed (Science Park Graz) (English)

Tumbleweed: Wie zwei junge Wiener die Besiedelung des Mars vorantreiben wollen (Trending Topics, 02.10.2019) (German)

Schüler präsentierten Marsrover “Tumbleweeds” in Graz (der Grazer, 25.08.2019) (German)

Ideenwettbewerb Science Park Graz zeichnet Österreichs Start-Ups der Zukunft aus (Wirtschaftszeit, 05.04.2019) (German)

To Mars with Tumbleweed (voestalpine, 20.12.2018) (English)

In der Wüste von Oman proben Österreicher eine Mars Mission (VICE, 16.05.2018) (German)

Wiener Schüler schicken Rover zur Marssimulation in den Oman (, 16.02.2018) (German)

“Es ist wie Lego für Große” (Wiener Zeitung, 14.02.2018) (German)

Testlauf für Schüler-Marsrover (, 30.01.2018) (German)

Wiener Schüler bauen einen Roboter für den Mars (Die Presse, 21.11.2017) (German)

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