About the Competition:

The Lunabotics Mining Competition is a university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The challenge is for students to design and build a remote controlled or autonomous excavator that can collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of regolith simulant (aggregate) within 10 minutes.

There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space. The technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition could conceivably be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars. Robotic miners will allow us to take samples at the returned Asteroid and give us valuable information to prepare for other deep space missions.

Regolith exists not only on Earth’s moon, but also on most planetary bodies such as Asteroids, Moons of Mars and Mars itself. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the simulant, the weight and size limitations of the robot, and the ability to control it from a remote control center.

The scoring for the mining category required teams to consider a number of design operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required, and full autonomy.

And the 2013 Winners are:

Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence (Grand Prize)
First Place – Iowa State University in collaboration with Nebraska Indian Community College & Wartburg College
Second Place – West Virginia University in collaboration with Bluefield State College
Third Place – The University of Alabama in collaboration with Shelton State Community College

On-Site Mining Award
First Place – Iowa State University in collaboration with Nebraska Indian Community College & Wartburg College
Second Place – University of North Dakota
Third Place – University of New Hampshire

Judges Innovation Award
Montana State University

Efficient Use of Communications Power Award
First Place – University of New Hampshire
Second Place – Montana State University
Third Place – Universidad de Los Andes in collaboration with Virginia State University

Systems Engineering Paper Award
First Place – The University of Alabama in collaboration with Shelton State Community College
Second Place – Military Institute of Science and Technology
Third Place – John Brown University

Outreach Project Report Award
First Place – Military Institute of Science and Technology
Second Place – Kirori Mal College-Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi
Third Place – Iowa State University in collaboration with Nebraska Indian Community College & Wartburg College

Team Spirit Award
First Place – Florida Institute of Technology
Second Place – West Virginia University in collaboration with Bluefield State College
Third Place – Military Institute of Science and Technology

Slide Presentation and Demonstration Award
First Place – The University of Alabama in collaboration with Shelton State Community College
Second Place – John Brown University
Third Place – University of Akron

Luna Worldwide Campaign Award
First Place – Military Institute of Science and Technology
Second Place – Kirori Mal College-Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi
Third Place – Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Social Media Award
Universidad de Los Andes in collaboration with Virginia State University

Perseverance Award
Warsaw University of Technology

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/lunabotics.html

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