NASA Robotic Mining Competition May 19-23 at Kennedy Space Center

NASA Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin 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 conceivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars.  NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions which could be applied to an actual excavation device or payload. 

The unique physical properties of basaltic regolith and the reduced 1/3rd gravity make excavation a difficult technical challenge. Advances in Martian mining have the potential to significantly contribute to our nation’s space vision and NASA space exploration operations.

The Competition

The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the basaltic regolith simulant, the weight and size of the limitations of the mining robot, and the ability to control it from a remote center.  The scoring for the mining category 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 autonomy.

The teams that can use telerobotic or autonomous operation to excavate the basaltic regolith simulant, called Black Point-1 or BP-1, and score the most points wins the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence. The team will receive the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence trophy, KSC launch invitations, team certificates for each member, and a $5,000 team scholarship.  Awards for other categories include monetary team scholarships, a school trophy or plaque, team and individual certificates, and KSC launch invitations.

Check out the NASA EDGE Show from the 2013 Robotic Mining Competition.Click here to download the show.


Itinerary (PDF)

 Monday, May 19, 2014

 Tuesday, May 20, 2014

 Wednesday, May 21, 2014

 Thursday, May 22, 2014

 Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Competitors

  • Arizona State University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida International University
  • Iowa State University
  • John Brown University
  • Kapiolani Community College
  • Miami University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Mississippi State University
  • Montana State University
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
  • Oakton Community College
  • South Dakota School of Mines
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
  • The University of Akron
  • The University of Alabama
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • West Virginia University
  • Wright State University

2014 Sponsors

Bethanne Hull, Wichita Tribal Enterprises, LLC
Kennedy Education Projects Office
Robotic Mining Competition Project Coordinator

NASA Robotic Mining Competition

May 19-23 at Kennedy Space Center

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