NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have opened registration and are seeking teams to compete in next year's robot technology demonstration competition, which offers as much as $1.5 million in prize money.
NASA is providing the prize money to the winning team as part of the agency's Centennial Challenges competitions, which seek unconventional solutions to problems of interest to the agency and the nation.
There have been 23 NASA Centennial Challenges competition events since 2005, and through this program NASA has awarded more than $6 million to 15 different challenge-winning teams.
Competitors have included private companies, student groups and independent inventors working outside the traditional aerospace industry. Unlike contracts or grants, prizes are awarded only after solutions are successfully demonstrated.
During the 2013 NASA-WPI Sample Return Robot Challenge, teams will compete to demonstrate a robot can locate and retrieve geologic samples from a wide and varied terrain without human control. The competition is planned for June 2013 in Worcester, MA.
WPI is one of the only universities to offer bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in robotics engineering. In 2007, the university was the first in the nation to offer a bachelor's degree program in this area. Through its Robotics Resource Center, WPI supports robotics projects, teams, events and K-12 outreach programs.
More information about the Sample Return Robot Challenge and WPI and registration is here.
The Centennial Challenges program is part of NASA's Space Technology Program, which is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. For more information about NASA's Centennial Challenges and the Space Technology Program, click here.