Watch NASA’s Sample Return Robot Challenge LIVE on Wednesday!


To help prepare for exploration of other planets and moons, NASA and Worchester Polytechnical Institute are hosting the finals for a nationwide robotics challenge. Starting at 11am (EST), you can watch Level 1 of the NASA/WPI Sample Return Robot Challenge at the link above.

University teams have been working on robots that need to be able to locate and collect specific samples and return them to the starting zone without the help of humans.  The robots will have to move over open rolling terrain, granular medium, soft soils, a variety of rocks, and immovable obstacles (trees, large rocks, water hazards, etc.).

The samples will be easily distinguished from other materials. Samples will have different point values and the prizes will be determined based on the scores for number and point value of samples collected and returned to the starting location.

In order to win a Level-1 prize, a robot must autonomously navigate at all times and must retrieve a pre-cached sample within the 15-minute time limit.

In order to win a Level-2 prize, a robot must autonomously navigate at all times and must retrieve the pre-cached sample and other samples distributed over the roving area within the two-hour time limit.

Returning teams this year include Survey of Los Angeles; Wunderkammer Laboratory of Topanga, California; Intrepid Systems of Lynnwood, Washington; the University of Waterloo of Ontario, Canada; AERO of Worcester, Massachusetts; Fetch of Alexandria, Virginia; Kuukulgur of Estonia; Middleman of Dunedin, Florida; and the University of California Santa Cruz Autonomous Rover Team.

New teams entering the competition are Cephal of Pittsburgh; Formicarum of Worcester, Massachusetts; the West Virginia University Mountaineers of Morgantown; the Oregon State University Mars Rover Team of Corvallis; the Retrievers of Schenectady, New York; RPI Rock Raiders of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; Stellar Automation Systems of Marietta, Georgia; Sourcerors of Pittsburgh; and Lunambotics of Mexico City.

NASA’s Centennial Challenges program does not award funds to competitors unless the challenge objectives have been met.

Prize Purse
$1.5 million is available from the Centennial Challenges Program.

From left, college mentor Ryan MacKenzie, volunteer Navy veteran Robert Svec, and students John DerBoghossian and Ethan Kranick watch the sample return robot move on the grass at Schenectady High School Friday, June 6, 2014 in Schenectady, N.Y. The Schenectady High School science team named the Retrievers is competing in the NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge. The robot moves using software on the computer held by Svec. (Lori Van Buren / Times Union) Photo: Lori Van Buren / 00027231A


~ by alanotte on June 10, 2014.

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