NASA challenges students to design lunar digging robots

The American Space Agency is in the search for young students to design a new concept of excavator robot, for a new mission on the Moon. The Lunabotics Youth Contest is open to public and private school students in the United States, as well as students at home.

Conditions of participation in the contest

NASA and Future Engineers, ask students to design a robot that will excavate and move regolith, or lunar soil, from a specific area of ​​the lunar South Pole to a holding container, which is located near where the Artemis astronauts will land.

The NASA take the first woman and the first person of color to the moon and set science and lunar exploration locations in the long term, which will link to future exploration of Mars.

The collection of the lunar regolith is essential throughout this process, since could be used for material manufacturing lunar. In this way, the quantity and cost of materials that must be moved from Earth would be reduced.

To participate in the competition, students should include a picture of the robot design and a written summary explaining how the design is intended to work on the Moon, all before January 25, 2022.

In search of the most creative engineers

Mike Kincaid, NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of STEM Engagement, has said that extracting resources in deep space will require innovation and creativity, which are expected to be found in students.

The next generation always brings new perspectives, groundbreaking ideas and an extraordinary sense of optimism for the challenges NASA puts in front of them, Kincaid said.

Yes OK students are not tasked with building a robot, they are asked to visualize a design robot 1 meter high and 60 x 60 centimeters wide, and that has three specific characteristics in the design:

  • How you will collect, dig and move the lunar regolith.
  • How the robot will work. Whether it will be moving large amounts of dirt per trip, or will transport less dirt on more trips.
  • How to solve the great challenge of moondust “sticking” to surfaces when regolith moves.

Students can register personally, or the teacher responsible for the group can register the whole group if he deems it necessary. Ten semi-finalists will receive a Lunabotics Junior prize package, and four finalists from each category will win a virtual session with a NASA subject matter expert.

Winners will be announced on March 29, 2022 and you will be given a virtual talk for your class with Janet Petro, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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