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USU-BC Qualifies in Prestigious NASA Competition

Utah State University at the Brigham City campus is one of fifty schools worldwide that qualified to compete in NASA’s 4th Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition. 

Wade Goodridge, a faculty member of the Department of Engineering Education at the Brigham City campus, says, “This is really something to brag about. We’ve made it past the first stage (doing the required work) to get accepted into the competition, and [the NASA] link now lists Utah State University.”

According to the NASA website, this competition is “designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions which could be applied to an actual lunar excavation device or payload. The challenge is for students to design and build an excavator, called a Lunabot, that can mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar simulant within 10 minutes. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the BP-1, the weight and size limitations of the Lunabot, and the ability to telerobotically or autonomously control the Lunabot from a remote mission control center.

This year the scoring for the mining category will not be based primarily on the amount of material excavated in the allowed time but instead will require teams to consider a number of design and operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required, and full autonomy.”

Last year’s competition can be viewed on YouTube
at http://www.youtube.com/user/lunabotics

To learn more about the 2012 competition,
visit the NASA website at
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/lunabotics.html#Competitors