Sunday, May 13, 2007

Regolith Challenge Results

The Santa Maria Times reports that 4 teams were able to compete at the actual Regolith Excavation Challenge, but none were able to win the prize this year. There is also a picture of Buzz Aldrin looking on as a competitor works with their robot on the challenge, and news in the article about the ROBO Challenge for students.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Technology Ranch of Pismo Beach was able to excavate over 65kg, but needed to reach 330 pounds to win. I'm not sure why they used different units in the same article (I hope they're not designing space probes on the side) but you can do the conversion here. The Technology Ranch link shows that they plan to set up a web site for their contender, so check back on that site later. Their Technology Ranch blog is the one I posted on a few days ago, where they noted that they decided to enter the challenge just a few weeks ago. Good job for such a late start -- imagine what they (and the other teams) will be able to do next year, with $750,000 on the line instead of $250,000, a year more to work on their designs (and sponsorships and so on), and the practical experience of having gone through the challenge once already. Now ... how does one go about getting some of that lunar simulant to help the development/testing process?

Update: Here's the final report from the University of Missouri-Rolla team. From their report it sounds possible that Launch Magazine will have an article on the challenge. That's just my speculation - you'll have to get the magazine to find out for sure!

New Scientist has an article with a couple pictures from the challenge. It also has some details on what happened with each team. One had problems with getting their excavator shipped across the country to get to the challenge site. I seem to remember hearing about another shipping problem at the 2006 X PRIZE Cup's Space Elevator Games. New Scientist also has another article that also has 2 (different) pictures from the challenge. Both articles mention plans from the teams to return to the challenge next year, and this article expresses the expectation that next year there will be even more challengers and NASA interest.

See the "regolith challenge" label below for more posts on this event.