Regolith Excavation Challenge Details and Schedule

nasa_logo

NASA PROGRAM UPDATE

The 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge will be held on Oct. 17-18 at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The $750,000 prize challenge is a nationwide competition that focuses on developing improved handling technologies for moon dirt, known as lunar regolith.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, the competition will see 23 teams use robots they designed and built to excavate simulated lunar soil. Teams will test their robots in a box approximately 13 feet square and one-and-a-half feet deep that contains eight tons of simulated moon soil.

To qualify for a prize, a robot must dig up at least 330 pounds of regolith and deposit it into a container in 30 minutes. Trophies will be presented to the top three teams.

The two-day event also will feature exhibits and speakers highlighting hands-on education projects, robotics and space exploration.

NASA and California Space Authority Inc. of Santa Maria, along with its sister organization, the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, are co-hosting the competition in collaboration with the NASA Lunar Science Institute. Also supporting the competition are Diani Building Corp. of Santa Maria, Calif., and Empirical Systems Aerospace of Pismo Beach, Calif.

SCHEDULE

Saturday, Oct. 17:

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Team competition. The audience will be able to view the competition via a closed circuit television in a tent outside Bldg. 503.

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: The Livermore Unit of the National Association of Rocketry will launch rockets as high as 1,000 feet from Moffett Federal Airfield. Weather permitting.

Speakers:

  • 8 – 8:30 a.m.: Opening remarks Andrea Seastrand, executive director, California Space Authority Lynn Baroff, executive director, California Space Education and Workforce Institute Andy Petro, NASA Centennial Challenges Greg Schmidt, deputy director, NASA Lunar Science Institute
  • 10:30 – 10:50 a.m.: Maria Bualat, NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: David Morrison, director, NASA Lunar Science Institute
  • 1 – 1:30 p.m.: Chris McKay, planetary scientist, NASA Ames
  • 2 – 2:20 p.m.: Joshua Neubert, executive director, Conrad Foundation
  • 3:30 – 3:50 p.m.: Kris Zacny, director of Drilling and Excavation Systems, Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation
  • 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.: Team Recognition Banquet (By invitation only) Lynn Baroff, executive director, California Space Education and Workforce Institute Jennifer Heldmann, planetary scientist, NASA Ames

Sunday, Oct. 18:

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Team competition. The audience will be able to view the competition via a closed circuit television in a tent outside Bldg. 503.

The announcement of a winner will depend on how quickly the teams finish. If all teams complete on Oct. 17 and there is a winner, they will be announced at the Team Recognition Banquet that evening. If the competition continues through Oct. 18, a winner will be announced approximately two hours after the last attempt is completed.