MOUNTAIN VIEW â€“ Nineteen teams pushed their robotic competitors to the limit and three teams claimed a total of $750,000 in NASA prizes for their hard work and innovation at this year’s Regolith Excavation Challenge held at NASA’s Ames Research Center on Moffett Field.
After two days of intense competitive drama, organizers conferred Paulâ€™s Robotics of Worcester, MA, with the first place title, second went to Terra Engineering of Gardena, CA, and Team Braundo of Rancho Palos Verde, CA, took home third.
Terra Engineering’s rover dumps a load of regolith into the collection box.
Terra Engineering has lept into second place in the Lunar Excavation Challenge, guaranteeing that this year’s $750,000 prize purse will be full claimed.
The team’s rover collected an unofficial total 270.6 kilograms of simulated lunar soil. This lept the Gardena, California-based team ahead of Braundo Rancho, whose rover collected 263.75 kilograms earlier on Sunday. Paulâ€™s Robotics of Worcester, Massachusetts continues to lead with 439 kilograms.
The first place finisher will claim $500,000 with the second and third place teams claiming $150,000 and $100,000, respectively. To qualify for prizes, teams had to excavate at least 150 kilograms of regolith.
One team – Moon Diggers B of San Francisco, California – remains to compete.
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.
Pasadena, CA â€“ The California Space Education and Workforce Institute (Institute) and its sister organization the California Space Authority (CSA) announced today that Lynn Baroff will serve as the new Executive Director for the Institute.