Saturday, October 10, 2009

University of British Columbia engineering students unveil NASA regolith challenge vehicle

UBC TREAD cycle (YouTube video) Oct. 2, 2009 - NASA Regolith Challenge entry video "for one complete cycle of excavation, drive and unload. Autonomous line-following for ramp ascent." [UBC / YouTube]

John Meech
UBC Public Affairs

A robot designed by UBC students will be shoveling moon dust at an international robotics competition next week, vying for a $500,000 prize and the opportunity to contribute to NASA’s future space exploration projects.

The UBC team has created a robotic machine that can excavate simulated lunar soil (regolith). Excavating regolith will be an important part of any construction project or processing of natural resources on the Moon.

The UBC TREAD robot team will compete in the NASA Regolith Excavator Centennial Challenge at Ames Research Air Force Base in Mountain View, California, on Oct. 17.

Media are invited to see a sneak preview of TREAD’s excavator in action on Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m. – noon. Contact Prof. John Meech at 604-761-0472 to attend.

See UBC’s robot:

During the NASA competition, robots will be tested in box containing eight tons of simulated lunar regolith that is about four meters square and about one-half meter deep. In order to qualify for a prize, a robot must dig up and then dump at least 150 kg of regolith into a container in 30 minutes.

The NASA challenge is designed to drive progress in aerospace technology of value to NASA’s missions; encourage the participation of independent teams, individual inventors, student groups and private companies of all sizes in aerospace research and development; and find the most innovative solutions to technical challenges through competition and cooperation.

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