NASA Centennial Challenges: Regolith Excavation

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For NASA media support regarding Centennial Challenges, contact:

Janet Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center
Phone: 256-544-0034

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Regolith Excavation Features

Regolith Excavation Challenge

In this challenge, teams design and build robotic machines to excavate simulated lunar soil (regolith). Excavating regolith will be an important part of any construction projects or processing of natural resources on the Moon. The robots are tested in box containing eight tons of simulated lunar regolith that is about 4 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 teams with the robots that move the most regolith will claim the three cash prizes. NASA is looking for new ideas for excavation techniques that do not require excessively heavy machines or large amounts of power. None of the teams in the 2007 or 2008 competitions were able to meet the winning criteria. Following the 2008 event, a suggestion was made to find a permanent facility for the box with the simulated lunar regolith and that home was found in the Research Park at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. The 2009 competition held in October in that new facility, which will also be available year-round for testing of lunar devices.

The California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSE&WI), part of the California Space Authority, managed this challenge for NASA.

› Regolith Excavation Results

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In the Media

Moonraker From Paul's Robotics
Winner of the 2009 NASA Lunar Regolith Excavation Challenge!

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Brooke Boen