The goal of our project is to design and fabricate a robotic excavator to compete in NASA's Robotics Mining Competition. (Formerly called NASA's Lunabotics Mining Competition.)
The LunaCats will be competing in NASA's Robotic Mining Competition. The competition is a university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from universities. These concepts presented by the teams could be applied to an actual lunar excavation device or payload. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the lunar simulant, the weight and size limitations of the lunabot, and the ability to control the lunabot from a remote control center. The competition is held annually at the end of May at the Kennedy.
The competition consist of several categories:
♦ On-site Mining in the Lunarena
♦ Systems Engineering Paper
♦ Outreach Project
♦ Slide Presentation
Please visit NASA's Lunabotics Mining Competition site for a complete description of the competition rules and guidelines.
The LunaCats are responsible for providing an experimental test bed graduate level research projects. Professor Thein's graduate students' research project is on celestial navigation(CelNav). The moon does not have a coordinate system like the earth does; this makesit difficult to determine the position of an autonomous rover on the surface of the moon.CelNav uses a star tracker and sensors to extract latitude, longitude coordinate of the moon and the rover's heading. With CelNav, a person will be able to know the exact location of their rovers at any point in time. The LunaCats will be working closely with Professor Thein's graduate students on the CelNav project.