NASA Mining Robot Competition

  • Donohue, Kevin (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Collaborative efforts from NASA and the European Space Agency have led to countless discoveries about the Red Planet. One of the most famous discoveries is the evidence of water ice on the surface by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Once it was known that solid water could be extracted from minerals on Mars, NASA created the Robotic Mining Competition. Each year young engineers gather to showcase their excavation ideas. This annual competition allows collegiate competitors to live out their dream of contributing to the great exploratory spirit of humanity. Competitors are required to build a Mars worthy robot capable of harvesting regolith simulant. The robots are placed in a mining arena that consists of a starting zone, and obstacle zone, then a digging zone. Each team will designate members to control their robot. Those members will be stationed in a control booth located outside of the mining arena. From the control booth the members will navigate their robot through the obstacle zone, to the digging zone. Once in the digging zone, the robot will dig an allotted amount of regolith and return to the starting zone to dump the payload into a hopper. The robot will then repeat this process until ten minutes have expired. [2] The competition takes place the week of May 22nd at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida. Members will arrive in Titusville the 21st of May and participate until the final awards ceremony on the 26th. The University of Kentucky team is responsible for the cost of shipping of the robot as well as team travel expenses.
Effective start/end date1/1/1712/31/17


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