Mars missions are all the rage!

The S&T Robotics team has eschewed the annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) for something a little warmer. Instead of the Detroit’s northern suburbs they’re at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s 7th annual Robotic Mining Competition
With an eye towards eventual manned missions to Mars NASA is looking for operational ideas NOW. The event gives university-level student teams the chance to design and build mining robots that can traverse a simulated chaotic Martian terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the material into a collector bin in ten minutes or less.
RobotsleeperRyan Loeffelman sent this event summary: “We’ve been having a lot of fun here, and learned quite a bit so far. On the trip down we damaged our robot and it took some time to make repairs and our first official competition run didn’t go as well as we hoped; we got stuck in a hole. Wednesday night we fixed the robot only to have thunderstorms on Thursday shut down the event for safety reasons. Today an on-board computer connection failed and kept us from loading all the required regolith. You can see from the photo that we worked some pretty long hours.”
Ryan Loeffelman