The E-Rex rover collects simulated lunar soil during the Regolith Excavation Challenge. The vehicle dumped 75 kilograms into the container, half of what was required to qualify for a prize. It collected more soil before it got stuck and the 30-minute collection period ran out. The team will return to Little Rock, Arkansas without any prize money.
Technology Ranch’s rover did fine in excavating regolith; however, it frequently missed the collection box due to a failure of the on board video cameras. The team from Arroye Grande, California finished with 26.45 kilograms – a good showing but far short of the 150 kilograms required to qualify for prize money.
A second team, Paul’s Robotics of Worcester, Mass., has qualified for prize money in the Regolith Excavation Challenge. The team from Worchester Polytechnic Institute excavated 439 kilograms of simulated soil, which puts it in the lead for a $500,000 cash prize from NASA. The second place team will received $150,000, with $100,000 going to the third place team.
There was some controversy over whether the robot had excavated soil outside the assigned area; however, the judges looked at the markings in the test bed and confirmed that there was no problem with the effort.
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.
A robot designed by UBC students will be shoveling moon dust at an international robotics competition next week, vying for a $500,000 prize and the opportunity to contribute to NASAâ€™s future space exploration projects.
A record number of entrants have signed up to compete in the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge and its whopping $750,000 prize money. Twenty-three teams have fulfilled the application requirements to compete in the October 17 and 18 event at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field in Mountain View.
The postponed Space Elevator Games are now set for Nov. 2-6 at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The teams will spend the first two days setting up, testing and calibrating their experiments. A 3-day competition will then commence on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The teams will have a 45-minute climb window on each day.
The competition is being sponsored by The Spaceward Foundation with funding from NASA as part of the space agency’s Centennial Challenges. The games were delayed from August due to technical problems.
The Innovative Partnerships Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington is offering an opportunity for the public to help shape the prize challenges the agency offers to America’s future citizen-inventors.
Masten Space Systems successfully demonstrated multiple sustained free flights of its XA-0.1B vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket this past week. The longest flight was 93 seconds and involved a flight between two pads 60 meters apart. This marks the first time a purely rocket powered VTVL has flown from Mojave Air and Space Port.
Armadillo Aerospace made two flights of its lunar lander prototype today, putting it in the lead position to capture the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. (View a team photo taken after the successful flights.)
The Mesquite, Texas-based company completed two test flights in one day from a test facility in Caddo Mills, TX, to satisfy requirements for Level 2 of the prize. The second level requires the rocket to fly for 180 seconds before landing precisely on a simulated lunar surface constructed with craters and boulders.
The Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge Games originally scheduled for this summer at NASAâ€™s Dryden Flight Research Center have been postponed. The Spaceward Foundation conducts this prize competition as part of NASAâ€™s Centennial Challenge Program. The challenge this year requires teams to demonstrate devices that can climb a one-kilometer vertical cable using electrical power transmitted via a laser.