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Teams Develop Code, Win $535,000 in Space Robotics Challenge

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laser-based cliff detection example

An example of laser-based cliff detection from the winning team, Olympus Mons.

Credit: Olympus Mons

NASA has awarded a total of $535,000 to seven teams that competed in the agency's Space Robotics Challenge. The teams developed code to help advance state-of-the-art autonomous robotics for future space exploration missions.  

This final round of the challenge opened in January. Each team coordinated and coded various robotic systems within a virtual, simulated lunar environment. The virtual robots needed to locate, collect, and haul resources to their "home base" on the Moon — all without human interference. A panel of subject matter experts from NASA and industry scored each team based on the number of resources the autonomous bots identified, excavated, and delivered to their targeted base.

The seven winning teams in ranked order of prize package are:

  • Olympus Mons, a team of individuals in Barcelona, Spain ($185,000)
  • Robotika International, a team of individuals in Annapolis, Maryland ($125,000)
  • Team University of Adelaide, a team of students and faculty of the University of Adelaide in Australia ($75,000)
  • Walk Softly, a solo competitor in Niskayuna, New York ($50,000)
  • Whalers, a team of individuals in Nantucket, Massachusetts ($40,000)
  • Team Mountaineers, a team of students and faculty of West Virginia University in Morgantown ($30,000)
  • Future Robotics Lab, a team of individuals in Franklin, North Carolina ($30,000)

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