NASA’s 8th Annual Robotic Mining Competition Comes To An End

May 30, 2017 – The eighth annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition wrapped up Friday. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from more than 40 colleges and universities across the nation, including the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado School of Mines, showed off their excavating prowess during the three-day competition, May 24-26. The teams had to design and build either remote-controlled or autonomous excavator robots that traverse a simulated Martian terrain, scoop up the dirt and return it to a hopper within 10 minutes. The University of Colorado Boulder took 2nd place for Robotic On-Site Mining.

The competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate project designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM fields by expanding opportunities for student research and design. The project provides a competitive environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that could potentially be used on NASA’s journey to Mars.

The following is a full list of 2017 RMC Award Winners:

The Efficient Use of Communications Power Award

Awarded to the team for using the lowest average data utilization bandwidth per regolith points earned in both the timed and NASA monitored portion of the competition. Teams must collect the minimum amount of regolith to qualify for this award.

WINNER: THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

The Regolith Mechanics Award

Awarded to the team with the best example of a real granular innovation that identified a specific regolith mechanics problem (like the way the soil flows around the grousers, or angle of repose too high in their dump bucket, etc.) and intentionally improved their design to deal with it. Courtesy of the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS), part of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) Network.

WINNER: WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

The Caterpillar Autonomy Award

Awarded to the teams with the most autonomous points averaged from both mining attempts, even if no regolith is deposited. In the event of a tie, the team that deposits the most regolith will win.

3RD PLACE – UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE
2ND PLACE – UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
1ST PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

The Judge’s Innovation Award

Awarded to the team that demonstrates the most innovative design.

WINNER: EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY

Social Media and Public Engagement

Awarded to the teams that uses various social media platforms to engage the public in their participation with MC and engages with NASA and other robotic teams.

3RD PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
2ND PLACE – IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
1ST PLACE – UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Slide Presentation and Demonstration

Awarded to the team that best presents their project at the competition in front of an audience including NASA and private industry judges.

3RD PLACE – VIRGINIA TECH
2ND PLACE – CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
1ST PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Outreach Project Report

Awarded to the teams with the best educational outreach project in their local community to engage students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Outreach activities should capitalize on the excitement of NASA’s discoveries to spark student (K-12) interest and involvement in STEM.

3RD PLACE – EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY
2ND PLACE – IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
1ST PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Systems Engineering Paper

Awarded to the team that best discusses the Systems Engineering methods used to design and build their mining robot. The paper is peer reviewed by support and operations personnel from across the Administration.

3RD PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
2ND PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
1ST PLACE – CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

Robotic On-Site Mining

Awarded to the team that: passes robot and communication inspections, mines more than 10 kg of regolith, most efficient use in bandwidth, minimizes robot mass, reports energy consumed, has a dust tolerant design & performs dust free operations, performs tele-robotic and / or autonomously and mines the most resources.

3RD PLACE – ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
2ND PLACE – UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
1ST PLACE – THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

The Joe Kosmo Award For Excellence

Awarded to the team that scores the most points in all competition events.

WINNER: THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA