UBC engineering students unveil moon dust-shoveling robot

Oct 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

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 ’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.

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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 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.

Provided by University of British Columbia (news : web)

Explore further: NASA spacecraft prepares for March 12 launch to study earth's dynamic magnetic space environment

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