Beginning the second week of June, 20 teams will gather for the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge to compete for a prize purse of $1.5 million.
The competition will take place at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, June 8-13, according to a news release. During the autonomous robot competition, teams must show their robot can locate and collect geologic samples from a large, varied landscape—with no human control and through two levels of competition that grow in complexity.
This is the fourth NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge, and is an event that is designed to enhance NASA’s space exploration capabilities, according to the release, as well as to improve robotic applications on Earth.
“With missions to other planets and deeper space in our sights, it is increasingly valuable and necessary to see these technologies through,” said Sam Ortega, program manager for Centennial Challenges at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, according to the release. “Robots are our pioneers, and solving this challenge will be a breakthrough for future space exploration.”
NASA’s Centennial Challenges program manages the Sample Return Robot Challenge, according to the release.