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Robots, Rocks and Rovers Featured on New NASA 360 TV Program
August 31, 2012

[image-51][image-80][image-96]If you like rock stars - of the roving, robotic variety - here's your chance to see a NASA-sized competition that's all about them. "NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers" will take viewers to the 2012 Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge, which was held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass. June 14-17 and attracted 7,000 guests and spectators.

Fans around the world will have a chance to see the live premiere of the latest episode of "NASA 360" on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Producers and guests of the new episode plan to interact with fans online through social media channels including Facebook and Twitter during a special online broadcast of this Emmy-award winning series.

The live broadcast of "NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers" will begin at 5 p.m. EDT (10 p.m. GMT) at http://www.livestream.com/nasa360. NASA Television plans to simulcast the premiere on the NASA TV public channel, available at www.nasa.gov/nasatv and across continental North America, Alaska and Hawaii through cable carriers and on AMC-18C.

NASA's Centennial Challenges promotes technical innovation through a program that includes prize competitions. The challenges are designed to tap the nation's ingenuity to make revolutionary advances in technology that are of value to NASA and society. During this challenge, teams were asked to build autonomous robots that could identify, collect and return samples to compete for a potential $1.5 million prize purse.

"NASA needs autonomous robotic capability for future planetary exploration, and this new episode of 'NASA 360' gives our viewers an up-close look at how NASA uses prize competitions to push technology forward in a cost-effective, yet exciting way," said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager, who provides insight into the robot rover competition during the show.

Other program guests include Dr. Mason Peck, NASA Chief Technologist; Chris Ferguson, astronaut and commander of the final space shuttle mission; Dr. Bill Moore, Hampton University/NIA planetary geologist; leading robotics experts from WPI; and the talented teams that traveled to WPI to compete in the Sample Return Robot Challenge. The program also showcases new NASA 360 hosts, Molly McKinney and Caleb Kinchlow.

"We are thrilled to introduce Molly and Caleb to NASA 360's faithful fans," said Harla Sherwood, NASA 360's Principal Investigator and Communications Director for NIA. "Our NASA 360 team interacts daily with an audience of more than 50,000 devoted followers through Facebook and Twitter and they are especially enthusiastic about the opportunity to share the premier of "NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers."

NASA 360 programs have been downloaded more than eight million times from http://www.nasa.gov/nasa360. The Emmy award-winning series is based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. and is produced for NASA by the National Institute of Aerospace. In addition to airing NASA Television, the series is broadcast on more than 400 public broadcasting, cable and commercial stations across the country, as well as select airlines and cruise ships, iTunes, Hulu and YouTube.

For additional information about the Sample Robot Return Challenge, visit:


More about NASA 360, useful links and photos related to the new episode can be found at:


Information about NASA and agency programs is online at:


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Teammates from the University of Waterloo's (Canada) team work with their robot on the practice field at the Sample Return Robot Challenge held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., in June 2012
Image Credit: 
NASA/Bill Ingalls
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More than 7,000 guests visited the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., for the Sample Return Robot competition and the TouchTomorrow science and technology festival.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Bill Ingalls
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NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck, second from left, stop to look at an interactive NASA Mars rover exhibit where kids get to drive a remote controlled rover during the Worcester Polytechnic Institute TouchTomorrow event in Worcester, Mass.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Bill Ingalls
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator