Monday, March 10, 2008

20 Teams Registered for 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge

The California Space Authority sent out a notice of 20 teams registered for the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge. Check the Teams page for a list of them. Most of them have links to the team site on the CSA regolith page, which sometimes (not always) has a link to a separate site for the team ... or an address that might one day be a team site.

The registered teams include the ones from last year's event, like UMR Lunar Miners and Tech Ranch. Terra Engineering is related to last year's Mendenhall BDF. This team was also in the DARPA Grand Challenges. According to the press release, Team of One is led by Geoffrey Pulk from last year's competition, rounding out all of last year's competitors that made it to the Challenge event.

Check out the latest team map.

I imagine the press release will appear on the CSA regolith page soon, but I can't find it there, so here's a cut-and-paste of the main part:

20 Teams Competing in Regolith Challenge
Competition for $750,000 NASA Prize Ramping Up

Washington, DC – The California Space Education and Workforce Institute and California Space Authority announced today during a ceremony at NASA Headquarters that 20 teams have registered to compete in the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge. The teams competing for the $750,000 prize purse hail from 12 states and represent a variety of backgrounds; including universities, seasoned private sector robotics teams, and industry based competitors. The Challenge event will take place during August 2nd and 3rd on the campus of challenge co-host California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo College of Engineering.

”We are pleased to have robust participation in the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge. It creates a great opportunity to make the excitement of space exploration tangible for the many students, professionals and other enthusiasts who are following the competition.” said Jack Gregg, Ph.D., Executive Director of the California Space Education and Workforce Institute.

All four of the teams that participated in the Challenge event in 2007 have returned for the 2008 competition despite the increased technical difficulty that this year's rules provide. Technology Ranch, led by Jim Greenhaw, Team of One led by Geoffrey Pulk, Terra Engineering led by Todd Mendenhall, and the Lunar Miners led by Cory Smith represent the four returning teams. New this year are Poiesis Research, Toy Garden, Boppers, UBC Tread Robotics, Green Cheese Solutions, Lunaccretion, Team Terrich, Ajax Laboratories, Kingfish Tech, LREX ONE, Mocha Boca II, Sandstorm, Dig-It, LunOREDIGGERS, Sileas Research Mining and Full Scale Robotics. The teams hail from California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Like last year, teams will be required to build autonomous excavators, but new this year is a requirement that the excavators be mobile and navigate their way through obstacles. This change requires that the teams address some of the obstructions and other operational constraints likely to be encountered on the lunar surface.

Update (March 11): I don't see the announcement yet anywhere but in my email, but San Luis has a brief mention of it.