Team members check their robot before the start of a mining session in simulated Martian soil in the Caterpillar Mining Arena during NASA’s 2014 Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. More than 35 teams from colleges and universities around the U.S. have designed and built remote-controlled robots for the mining competition.
The competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate project designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields by expanding opportunities for student research and design. Teams use their remote-controlled robotics to maneuver and dig in a supersized sandbox filled with a crushed material that has characteristics similar to Martian soil. The objective of the challenge is to see which team’s robot can collect and move the most regolith within a specified amount of time. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/nasarmc. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett