By Kalwinder Kaur
NASA has announced that the registration for the Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition is now open. The event is a university-level competition designed to encourage innovative lunar excavation concepts that may possibly be used during an actual lunar excavation.
NASA's Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition
The competition is open to students in engineering, mathematics, science and technology. The participants have to design and build a Lunabot, which can be an autonomous or remote controlled robot. It will be basically an excavator that will have the capability to mine at least 10 kg of simulated lunar dirt within a period of 10 minutes.
Factors such as the ability to control the Lunabot autonomously or telerobotically from a remote control center, the size and weight of the robot, and BP-1’s abrasive characteristics play a significant role in the competition. While in previous years, the scoring was based on the quantity of material excavated, this year it will include many other factors including mass and power required for the Lunabot, complete autonomy, communications, projection and tolerance to dust.
Participating teams will have to compete in five major competition categories such as systems engineering paper, on-site mining, and outreach project. Team spirit and slide presentation are allowed as optional categories.
The grand prize will be the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence, a team scholarship of $5,000, team certificates and the chance to participate in a remote research and technology test.
The competition is to be held from 20 to 24, May 2013, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is open to the first 50 teams who register their applications.