Other Prize Competitions
Click here for links leading to other competitions and related activities external to Centennial Challenges.

Centennial of Flight

image of Wright flyer

In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics working with no government support, initiated the age of powered flight with their success at Kitty Hawk. NASAs Prize Program honors the spirit of the Wright Brothers and other independent inventors by acknowledging the centennial of the first powered flight in 2003. The NASA Centennial Challenges program also recognizes that the rapid and dramatic progress in aeronautics in the early years of the first century of flight was often driven by prize competitions.

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"If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted."
Sir Francis Bacon

Regolith Excavation Features

College Team Wins NASA Lunar Robot Prize

image of Paul's Robotics team receiving check

Paul’s Robotics, a team led by college student, Paul Ventimiglia of Worcester Polytechnic Institute won the $500,000 first prize in the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge that concluded on October 18.

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2009 Prizewinners Recognition Ceremony

image of winners of the 2009 Centennial Challenges Awards

NASA Admimistrator Charlie Bolden along with senior NASA officials Doug Comstock and Andy Petro, acknowledges winners and organizers of NASA’s 2009 Centennial Challenges.

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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, manages this challenge for NASA. You can find out more about the Lunar Regolith Excavation Challenge at the CSE&WI website: http://regolith.csewi.org/

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