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Sample Return Robot Challenge Team Bios
Mark Curry and Ai Shan Curry, Intrepid Systems Team/Name: Intrepid Systems/Mark Curry, PhD
Age: 53
Personal: wife, Ai-Shan
Hometown: Lynnwood, Wash.
Why Centennial Challenges: "It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Robotics for planetary exploration has always been a keen interest for me," said Curry.
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Wall-E
Extra Credit: "I listen to industrial-techno music for inspiration."
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Team SpacePRIDE
Team/Name: SpacePRIDE/Chris Williamson
Age: 29
Personal: Siberian husky, Nikki
Hometown: Augusta, Ga.
Why Centennial Challenges:To challenge himself further and see if he could stack up against the other guys like students and private sector. "I wanted to see if a small town guy could hang with everybody else."
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Johnny 5, the sentient robot from the 1986 movie "Short Circuit" because he was one of the first on-screen robots and he could interact with humans.
Fun Fact: He has a Marvin the Martian tattoo.
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Team SpacePRIDE Team/Name: SpacePRIDE/Rob Moore
Age: 33
Personal: son, Robert Anthony, 6
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Why Centennial Challenges: "If things are easy, they're boring," he said. He entered this competition to challenge himself against his peers.
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Bender from "Futurama"
Fun Fact: He went sky diving in high school.
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Team/Name: Survey/Jascha Little
Personal: No spouse, pets or children. "How else would I have time for projects like this?"
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Why Centennial Challenges: "To challenge myself."
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Imperial Walkers, the four-legged machines used by the Empire from the "Star Wars" franchise.
Extra Credit: "The average height of our team is 6-foot-4."
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Team: Terra Engineering/Todd Mendenhall
Age: 48
Personal: wife, Valerie; birds Petie and Sky
Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Why Centennial Challenges: "To keep us out of trouble."
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Maximilian from the 1979 Disney film "The Black Hole" because "most robots only wish they could be so sinister."
Extra Credit: Mendenhall was a rated beach volleyball player after college.
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Team: USMART (University of Pennsylvania Space and Mobile Robotics Team)
Team Founded: February 2012
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Why Centennial Challenges: "It sounded really exciting. It also sounded impossible," Cleveland said.
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: "Without question, Johnny 5," said Cleveland.
Extra Credit: "Much of our mechanical design has been created by software engineers," Cleveland said.
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Waterloo Robotics graphic Team: University of Waterloo Robotics Team
Age: 9 (started in 2003)
Personal: 60 members, with an active core of 20 graduate and undergraduate students
Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Why I entered CC: "The wide variety of solutions to the algorithmic problems, the community of roboticists, the exposure to exciting ideas and commiseration over common challenges," said Waslander.
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: "Not sure, it is a big team; we're all pretty impressed with the latest Mars rover," he said.
Extra Credit: "Our lead hardware developer is actually a finance and actuarial sciences student," said Waslander.
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Jim Rothrock Team/Name: Wunderkammer Laboratory/Jim Rothrock
Age: 46
Personal: wife, Carrie; cats Java, Onyx and Daniel
Hometown: Topanga, Calif.
Why Centennial Challenges: "Because I want to do something that’s interesting and useful," he said, and added that the possibility of a sizeable monetary prize is worth the time spent. "I've learned a great deal from this."
Favorite Pop Culture Robot: Giant Robot from the 1960s TV series "Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot"
Extra Credit: Rothrock has been a skateboarder since 1980, and still has his original board.
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