Kent State Robotics Team places third in NASA’s 2018 Robotic Mining Competition
Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from universities and colleges throughout the United States descended upon NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida to compete May 16-18, 2018, in the agency’s 9th annual Robotic Mining Competition (RMC), which provides a competitive environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that could be used on NASA’s deep space exploration missions.
Along with 44 other teams, the Kent State Robotics Team designed and constructed a robot that was fashioned to mine simulated Martian terrain along with the gravel below it.
Kent State’s robot collected a total of 1.2 kilograms of gravel underneath the regolith (loose material covering solid rock) within a 10-minute time frame, one of only six teams to qualify. They placed third in the nation in the on-site mining category, with a scoop design that enabled their robot to operate at a simple and light level, allowing excellent functionality.
“The team was very pleased with placing third out of a strong field of teams from across the country,” says Darwin Boyd, PhD, team faculty adviser, assistant professor at KSU’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering and a former research associate at Cleveland’s NASA Lewis Research Center.
At the end of the competition, Kent State’s team realized that great engineering built on ease and a simple design was the key that helped them earn their high placing.