Monday, June 17, 2013

Bangladeshi Robots in NASA's Lunabotics Mining Competition

NASA's Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition, held on May 20-24, 2013 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Florida. From Bangladesh, total Five teams (3 real and 2 virtual teams!) participated in this event:
  • Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology - BUET
  • Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology - CHUET
  • Military Institute of Science and Technology - MIST

Virtual Teams:
  • Islamic University of Technology - IUT
  • North South University - NSU

Two team from Bangladesh got the prize in the category of Luna Worldwide Campaign Award. In the competition the BUET team managed to collect 10.4kg lunar regolith in the first round. While in the second round, MIST team qualified to the competition managing 22.6kg lunar regolith, the results of the category was as follows:
  1. First Place - Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST)
  2. Second Place - Kirori Mal College- Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi
  3. Third Place - Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
In the competition the Grand Prize was the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence, the results is as follows:
  • First Place - Iowa State University in collaboration with Nebraska Indian Community College & Wartburg College
  • Second Place - West Virginia University in collaboration with Bluefield State College
  • Third Place - The University of Alabama in collaboration with Shelton State Community College

The Lunabotics Mining Competition is a university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space, the technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition conceivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars. Robotic miners, just like these, will allow us to take samples at the returned Asteroid and give us valuable information to prepare for other deep space missions. The challenge is for students to design and build a remote controlled or autonomous excavator that can collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of regolith simulant (aggregate) within 10 minutes. Regolith exists not only on Earth’s moon, but also on most planetary bodies such as Asteroids, Moons of Mars and Mars itself. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the simulant, the weight and size limitations of the robot, and the ability to control it from a remote control center. The scoring for the mining category will require teams to consider a number of design operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required, and full autonomy.

Below are the images of the Robots made by the Bangladeshi students, participated in the last third and fourth NASA's Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition:

Mechatron from BUET:

Robomist from MIST:

Chondrobot-2 from BRAC University (third annual competition):

IUT team and their Robot:

NSU team and their Robot:


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