Category Archives: Competitions

NASA’s Sample Return Robot Challenge Competition Registration NOW OPEN

oo2013samplerobotRegistration is now open for teams wishing to compete in the $1.495 million robotics competition known as the Sample Return Robot Challenge, sponsored by NASA and managed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Worcester, MA. Registration for the competition will close on January 7, 2014 with late registration available until March 15, 2014. The competition will be held June 11-13, 2014.

For information about the Sample Return Robot Challenge rules, requirements, and how to register, visit:
http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={A282D064-383A-8906-2956-A6D67CE2964D}&path=open

“The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies that NASA could incorporate into future missions,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “Innovations stemming from this challenge may improve NASA’s capability to explore an asteroid or Mars, and advance robotic technology for use in industries and applications here on Earth.”

To win, a team must demonstrate a fully autonomous robot that can seek out samples and return them to a designated point within a set time period. Robots will be required to navigate over unknown terrain, around obstacles, and in varied lighting conditions without human control, or use of GPS, or other terrestrial navigation aids.

This is a Centennial Challenge in which NASA provides the prize purse for technological achievements. The challenge is extended to individuals, groups and companies. Unlike most contracts or grants, awards will be made only after solutions are demonstrated successfully. Since the program’s inception in 2005, NASA’s Centennial Challenges has awarded more than $6 million to 15 different competition-winning teams through 24 events. Competitors have included private companies, citizen inventors and academia working outside the traditional aerospace industry.

The Sample Return Robot Challenge is part of the Centennial Challenges Program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. For more information about NASA’s investment in space technology, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

Keeping the Wheels Turning: Registration open for the 20th Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

Moonbuggy LogoRegistration is now open for the 20th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, which challenges high school, college and university students around the world to build and race fast, lightweight “moonbuggies” of their own design.

The students’ work will culminate in two days of competitive racing April 26-27, 2013, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA created the event two decades ago to complement classroom learning, provide young thinkers and builders with real-world engineering experience and inspire them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the STEM fields.

“It’s our goal to keep the wheels turning,” said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which organizes the race each year. “The ingenuity and enthusiasm we see among racers begins in the classroom. That first spark of interest — whether it’s in basic chemistry or astronomy or the history of spaceflight — starts the wheels turning. The Great Moonbuggy Race helps sustain that momentum, turning interest into passion, and dreams into a lifelong pursuit of new answers and new horizons.”

International registration for the 2013 race closes Jan. 7. Registration for U.S. teams closes Feb. 4. Participating high schools, colleges and universities each may register up to two teams
and two vehicles. For complete rules and to register, visit: http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov

When Marshall created the race as a regional college challenge during the 1993-1994 school year, only eight teams participated. The high school division was added in 1996, and registration has swelled ever since.

Racers compete to post the fastest vehicle assembly and race times in their divisions, while incurring the fewest penalties. Prizes are awarded to the three teams in each division that finish with the lowest final times. NASA and industry sponsors present additional awards for engineering ingenuity, team spirit, best debut by a rookie team and more.

The course, built each spring on the outdoor grounds of the Space and Rocket Center, comprises a winding half-mile of gravel embankments, sand pits and obstacles that mimic the harsh surface of the moon. The race’s creators drew inspiration from conditions faced by the Apollo-era Lunar Roving Vehicles. Three rovers built at Marshall in the late 1960s were used on the moon during the Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions in 1971 and 1972.

Today, the students’ moonbuggies address many of the same design challenges NASA and industry engineers overcame to deliver those historic rovers. The vehicles dramatically expanded astronauts’ reach across the lunar surface and enabled them to conduct much more scientific research during their brief stays on the moon.

In the most recent Great Moonbuggy Race, held in April 2012, more than 70 teams tackled the course. Petra Mercado High School in Humacao, Puerto Rico was first place in the high school division. The University of Alabama in Huntsville won first place in the college division. Petra Mercado, in only its second year in the competition, earned a completion time of 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The winning University of Alabama in Huntsville team finished in 4 minutes and 3 seconds.

To date, more than 5,000 students from around the world have participated in the races. Past winning teams have hailed from Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming — and from Canada and Germany. International racers have come from as far away as India, Italy, Romania, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Racers from Erie High School in Erie, Kan., have held the record for the best course-completion time since 2008. Their best overall time of 3 minutes and 17 seconds earned the first-place trophy in the high school division that year.

More than 350,000 people watched live and archived coverage of the spring 2012 race on NASA TV and on UStream. For archived footage of the competition, visit:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

For images and additional information about past races, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/moonbuggy

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2012 Humans in Space International Youth Art Competition Deadline Extended to November 15th

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) invites youth worldwide ages 10–18 to share their visions of the future of space exploration by submitting visual, literary, musical, and video artwork to the 2012 Humans in Space Youth Art Competition. Due to worldwide request, the deadline for entries has been extended to November 15.

The competition partners (the German Aerospace Center, NASA, and USRA) challenge youth to communicate their vision of the future while incorporating this year’s theme: “How will humans use science and technology to explore space, and what mysteries will they uncover?” Competition judges will include program managers, scientists, artists, teachers, astronauts, musicians, and engineers from all over the world.

Winning artwork will be woven into multimedia displays and performances, providing opportunities for people of all ages to experience and be inspired by the creativity our next generation of explorers. Key venues for the 2012 winners will include the 19th Humans in Space Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Cologne, Germany, in July 2013, and multiple events associated with NASA’s 50th Anniversary of Solar System Exploration celebration.

Information about background science, artwork guidelines, and how to enter the competition is available at http://www.humansinspaceart.org.

Submissions are electronic and are due November 15, 2012, 11:59 p.m. CDT (23:59 GMT -5).

A complete submission for youth artists will have:

o An entry form that includes:
o Submission and contact information
o Artist’s statement of originality (400 words or less)
o Artwork (rules for different genres provided on website)
o A waiver signed by a parent or guardian (or by the artist, if he/she is at least 18 years old).

Adults will have a chance to participate as well by volunteering as judges; more information is available under the “Call for Judges” tab on the website.

The competition is designed to enhance youth interest, knowledge, and engagement in space science and technology and to encourage young participants worldwide to use that knowledge creatively. Through the multimedia displays and performances of the artwork, viewers also become inspired about the future of space exploration.

For more information, visit the website: http://www.humansinspaceart.org

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FAA Design Competition for U.S. College Students – NOI due September 28, 2012 and February 1, 2013

FAA Design Competition

Submit your notice of intent to participate by September 28, 2012 or February 1, 2013.

The Competition guidelines and many resources are posted at the Competition website:

http://FAADesignCompetition.odu.edu

All 2011-2012 design topics are still included. New topics have been added to the each of 2012 Design Challenge areas.

In addition, two new Design Challenge areas have been added: Innovative Application of FAA Data and Electric/Hybrid-Electric Aircraft Technology.

The new Innovative Application of FAA Data design challenge challenges students to use FAA, industry, travel and airport-relevant data to develop a mobile application for use for by smart phones and tablets that is innovative and commercially viable.

The new Electric/Hybrid Electric Aircraft Technology design challenge asks students to design a regional transport aircraft that will use electric or hybrid electric propulsion and to consider the impact on airports. This is the first aircraft design challenge for the FAA design competition.

Other brand new topics by Design Challenge area are:

  • Airport Operation and Maintenance: Improved methods for ground traffic flow scheduling.
  • Airport Environmental Interactions: System level methodologies for strategic assessment of environmental interactions beginning at the airport planning phase.
  • Runway Safety: Safety Assessment Tools: Mobile tools to support assessment conducted by runway safety action teams that aid in compliance evaluation as well as hazard identification and correction.
  • Systems analysis to determine areas of greatest risk for runway incursion and excursion in the National Airspace and proposing corrective action plans.
  • Airport Management and Planning: Methods for aircraft/runway interface that address issues caused by new energy efficient lighting not being visible to heat sensing, enhance flight vision systems.

The Competition’s broad challenge categories embrace many engineering, science, information technology, psychology, and management disciplines. The new Innovative Application of FAA Data challenge particularly encourages designs from interdisciplinary teams.

The Competition is again open to individual and student teams at U.S. colleges and universities (both undergraduate and graduate) working under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Winners can earn cash awards and first place winners have the opportunity and travel funds to present their design at FAA Headquarters summer 2013 and may also be sponsored to present at professional meeting relating to the students’ design. A notice of intent is strongly encouraged. Design submissions are due April 19, 2013.

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Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition – Registration Ends at 50 Applications!

Registration Open for NASA’s Fourth Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition

NASA is challenging U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build a telerobotic or autonomous excavator, called a Lunabot, that could be used on the moon. The Lunabot must be able to mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of lunar simulant in 10 minutes. The scoring for the Mining Category requires teams to consider a number of design and operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required and autonomy.

Design teams must include one faculty advisor from a college or university and at least two undergraduate or graduate students. Universities may work in collaboration and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. Selected teams will compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 20-24, 2013. Registration is limited to the first 50 approved teams. Registration is limited to one team per university campus. Internationally, registration is limited to 5 teams per country. Registration will end when NASA approves 50 applications.

The NASA EDGE video from NASA’s Third Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mp4/670179main_NE00072112_39_Lunabotics_2012.mp4

For more information and to apply online, visit NASA’s Lunabotics Mining Competition on the Web at http://www.nasa.gov/lunabotics.

National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition – Team Registration Awards Deadline September 30, 2012

National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC)

An Opportunity for Undergraduates to Participate in a Real World Research Experience

Ask yourself the following questions:

Spectrograph

Register your team today for the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition! Build awards available for teams registered before September 30, 2012~

  • Are you looking for a real world design problem?
  • Do you want to participate on an interdisciplinary team?
  • Do you want experience with mechanical components, optics, electronics and software?
  • Are you looking for an independent study or a capstone project?
  • Do you want to travel to the ‘Big Sky’ state?
  • Do you want a chance to win scholarship and travel prizes?

If you answered yes to these questions then this competition is for you! Get your team of 3 to 6 students together and register today.

The yearly National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) is Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Education and Public Outreach (EP/O) Program for NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission. A Spectrograph is an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum by separating the incoming light into its characteristic frequencies of wavelengths (spectrum). Spectrographs have a wide range of complexity from simple grating or prisms to the cutting edge IRIS spectrograph.

The NSSSC provides students from across the country the opportunity to work as part of an undergraduate interdisciplinary team to design, build and test a ground based solar spectrograph. Over the course of nine months, teams come up with their own science goals and then build an instrument to collect data in support of their goals. Teams then travel to Bozeman, MT to demonstrate their instruments and present their results in a competitive science fair environment. There are four judged categories: best build, best design, best science and best presentation. Each student on the winning teams receives a scholarship award of $3,000 and a travel award to a NASA launch.

College students interested in designing a spectrograph can now register for the 2012-2013 competition. Build awards of $2,000 per team are available for teams that register by Sept. 30.

Comments about the NSSSC:

“NASA is in a unique position to use scientific space missions like IRIS to foster student interest in science and engineering,” said Diane DeTroye, of NASA’s education office in Washington, D.C. “Giving students a chance to get hands-on experience often encourages them to pursue and continue STEM studies. This helps build an important pipeline of talent for future NASA missions.”

“The concept of having undergraduates design, build and test a scientific instrument is certainly unique as far as I know. This is a marvelous opportunity for young people to develop high level skills in instrument building. Using the instrument to answer science questions makes it even better. I commend and thank you for this wonderful experience. All of us will learn so much as we successfully complete this project. NSSSC provides participating students a better chance for admission to the graduate school of their choice. Also, they will receive better fellowships when they are accepted to graduate school. It will give some of them a direction for their career. I know of no other opportunity to engage in instrument design and application.” – Edmond Wilson, Faculty Advisor Harding University

“The opportunity to work on a real project has been a true motivation for our students who can feel isolated at a small school with no significant research going on.” – Jim Boger, Faculty Advisor Flat Head Valley Community College

The 2012-2013 Final Competition Dates are May 15-18, 2013 in Bozeman, MT. Any questions please contact Randy Larimer at rlarimer@ece.montana.edu or 406-994-6085

Registration and more information is available at http://www.spacegrant.montana.edu/iris/

Social Media Link: http://www.facebook.com/NASANS3

2012 Humans in Space Youth Art Competition – Entry Deadline October 21, 2012

Humans in Space Art Contest

Enter the International Humans in Space Art Competition by October 21, 2012

The international 2012 Humans in Space Youth Art Competition invites students ages 10-18 to express their ideas about the future of human space exploration through visual, literary, musical or digital art.

Artwork submissions will be judged on creativity, skill and demonstration of meaning relevant to expressing “How will humans use science and technology to explore space, and what mysteries will we uncover?”

Winning art will be showcased at displays and multimedia performances worldwide from 2013 to 2014, as well as in an online gallery. Submissions must be received by Oct. 21, 2012.

For additional information and a complete list of guidelines, visit www.humansinspaceart.org.

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NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) Proposals Due August 31, 2012

2012-2013 NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative

NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.

Once selected, teams design their rockets and payloads throughout the academic year. USLI requires a NASA review of the teams’ preliminary and critical designs. The project also requires flight and launch readiness reviews before the rockets and payloads are approved for launch. Teams complete a Post-Launch Assessment Review to include conclusions from their science or engineering experiment and the overall flight performance. The Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review and Flight Readiness Review are conducted by a panel of scientists and engineers from NASA, NASA contactors and external partners.

NASA’s Student Launch Projects are sponsored by ATK Aerospace Systems. The annual launch event is hosted at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala., and launch services are provided by the National Association of Rocketry. The 2012-2013 launch will be on April 20, 2013. Proposals are due Aug. 31, 2012.

The Statement of Work and instructions for submitting a proposal can be found on the USLI website at http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/usli.

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