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Monday, 14 May 2007 19:29

Lunar Diggers Fail to Win NASA Regolith Excavation Challenge

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As reported earlier in the ITWire article “NASA challenges Lunar-like Diggers in California”, the 2007 Regolith Excavation Challenge was held over the weekend. Four teams competed but nobody took home the $250,000 NASA prize.                       

The best competitor was the Technology Ranch team of Pismo Beach, California. Its excavator was able to dig more than 65 kilograms of simulated moon dirt in 30 minutes; however, it needed to dig at least 150 kilograms (330 pounds) to claim the prize.

The other three fully autonomous robotic machines—from Berkley, Michigan; Rolla, Missouri, and Rancho Palos Verdes, California—broke down at various times during the event.

The Challenge was held in Santa Maria, California, which is about 170 miles north of Los Angeles.

Buzz Aldrin, former NASA astronaut, attended the event. Aldrin was the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11 and became the second person to walk on the Moon.

Next year, the prize amount has been raised to $750,000.

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