The glittering Santa Maria Fairpark Events Page I mentioned a few posts ago now has an interesting update: Special Guest Buzz Aldrin is expected to be at the challenge. That's in addition to NASA Ames director Pete Worden and 30th Space Wing Commander Col. Stephen Tanous. They've also added the California Space Authority logo prominently on the page.
The University of Missouri-Rolla has an Engineering team called the UMR Lunar Miners that will be at the challenge. The link also gives a picture of their regolith excavation robot. Here are some posts about their journey to California. If you go or recently went to school there, and have the time and talent, you might want to find out if the team plans to try for next year's challenge with this Lunar Miners job/help posting.
Here's an I-Newswire post that features some interesting comments by one of the contenders for the prize. One of the commenting teams is from Michigan. Another is from Livermore, California - Iris Systems, Incorporated.
The article also notes that there will be a lot of interesting exhibits at the challenge event, so if you're nearby, go ahead and check it out, and while you're there, take some pictures and post them online, will ya, because I can't get there!
Space.com also has an article on the challenge with other comments by contenders for the prize. You'll also see a picture of the UMR Lunar Miner's excavation robot, as well as a picture of some of the tons of lunar regolith (dirt) simulant being put in the test area.
Previous Space Prizes posts on the Regolith Excavation Challenge:
Most Recent Updates on the Challenge
Miscellaneous Updates on the upcoming challenge
California ROBO Challenge for students held at the event
long post on Ken Davidian's Space Access '07 talk on Centennial Challenges giving the perspective of where the Regolith Challenge fits in the overall program (starting pretty far into the post), what the plans are in future years (500K prize purse next year), and how they're dealing with all that regolith simulant.
See the "regolith challenge" label below for more posts on this event.