Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA Adds $5M Prizes For Robots, Solar Spacecraft

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the harvesting-the-day-star dept.


coondoggie writes "NASA today significantly expanded its Centennial Challenges program to include $5 million worth of new competitions to develop robots, small satellites, and solar powered spacecraft. One of the new competitions is the Sample Return Robot Challenge. Its purpose is to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from wide and varied terrain without human control. This challenge has a prize purse of $1.5 million. The objectives are to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Nasa asks... (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888188)

Where's WALDO? []

So (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32888254)

So when is NASA going to stop pretending that rockets are the very best technology available and start using the antigravity propulsion systems the military has been hiding for decades now? Oh, I'm sorry if you thought that UFO was space aliens.

The U2 and the stealth bomber were once also "UFOs" that the government denied any knowledge of.

I am not suggesting a conspiracy per se. Only that crazy things are done in the name of "national security" such as withholding really advanced and amazing technology out of the fear that the "Commies" will use it against us. Nevermind that the real Commies are not "out there" but are right here in the USA holding positions within our schools, universities, and political offices but then I digress...

The above is just my opinion. I can't prove one iota of it. It seems common sense to me though that NASA is a front organization designed to give a false idea about what the "cutting edge" is.

some (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32891654)

Some are domestic advanced craft..but some aren't. Had this confirmed to me by someone really in the know before.

I'd just pass on this discussion on slashdot, way too many inside dwellers who dismiss things people see outside all the time, because "they just know better". It's a waste of time here, friend. Anyway, the above is FYI, we do have advanced craft, and have had for a long time, courtesy of operation paperclip and some german research, but we also have had a lot of visitors as well.

Sweet and Sour (1)

abbynormal brain (1637419) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888272)

Nice to see that NASA is expanding their program (sweet) ...
I hope this side/outreach activity stays a side/outreach activity and not a centerpiece for what NASA should be doing (sour)

NASA Has Money? (2, Informative)

BiggoronSword (1135013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888498)

Since when does NASA have any money? I thought all their budgets had been hacked and slashed by the gov't and other bureaucracies.

Re:NASA Has Money? (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888738)

They still have plenty of it considering the budget cut isn't effective for another 3 years or so I believe.

Re:NASA Has Money? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32889456)

What budget cut?

Re:NASA Has Money? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888856)

In case you haven't noticed - when any organization has their budget cut, and they can't afford to keep their research and Dev team working in their closed little spaces, they farm it out to the general public. Essentially, why pay 5 Million to a team to work on 1 project that may or may not be a success, when you can get lots of teams working on tons of projects and give 5 million to the best developed choice.

As long as this strategy works, and NASA doesn't have much money to move around, this is what you're going to be seeing.

Re:NASA Has Money? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888978)

You didn't read the fine print in the rules of the Challenges, which clearly announces:

1) In which Senators' states the contests will be held, and . . .

2) What percentages of components, from which states the contestants must use . . .

Re:NASA Has Money? (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32889150)

Since when does NASA have any money? I thought all their budgets had been hacked and slashed by the gov't and other bureaucracies.

The White House actually proposed a budget increase [] for NASA this year, making it one of the only non-defense discretionary spending agencies to have such an increase proposed for it. The White House wants to use the increase for space technology (including Centennial Challenges), precursor robotic missions, and commercial crew transportation, although a number of folks in Congress [] want to just use to money to build a multi-billion dollar mega-rocket favoring particular congressional districts instead. Be sure to call up your congresspeople and let them know which you prefer.

Nice to see (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32888504)

that NASA even though constantly bitching about its budget can afford to give away a million bucks for something that a high school student could design with a rc off road truck from radio shack and a arduino

keep up the spending, it will lead to good things

Sweet! (2, Funny)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32888968)

Hey man, look at what I just found! They were just sitting over there on that wall, a whole pile of free legos!

What about a muslim outreach robot? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32888990)

Will they give extra money to fulfill their Obama muslim outreach mandate? I would love to build some self-suicide bombing robots.

More info on Centennial Challenges, tech webcast (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32889050)

Oh bummer, I actually just submitted a story on this a few minutes ago, oops. ;) The linked article above has a decent summary, but for the curious the summary below has some links to the original NASA sources:

NASA has announced [] three new 'Centennial Challenge' technology prizes totaling $5M, awarded via competitions to achieve technological goals [] important to NASA: The $2M Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge for launching small satellites (at least 1kg) into orbit twice in one week, the $1.5M Night Rover Challenge for demonstrating a rover capable of storing and using solar energy over day/night cycles, and the $1.5M Sample Return Robot Challenge for a robot capable of locating and retrieving identifiable geologic samples in varied terrain without human control or GPS. This is in addition to the ongoing Strong Tether, Power Beaming, and Green Flight Challenges. The White House is currently seeking to boost funding for Centennial Challenges and other NASA technology programs, although many in Congress have other plans [] .

The NASA Chief Technologist Robert Braun is currently hosting an industry day, and you can view the webcast live (they're currently on lunch break) and read the presentation PDFs here: []

You can also submit questions relative to whatever the current presentation is via their official twitter account, which has been updated regularly throughout the day: []

In other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32889114)

NASA pays college kids $5M to design and implement what the "best and brightest engineers money can buy" can't.

Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge (2, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32889304) []

The Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge: to place a small satellite into Earth orbit, twice in one week. The prize purse is $2 million.

From this presentation [] on the new Centennial Challenges, the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge will require only a very small satellite, >1kg mass and >10cm cubic size. I'm guessing the folks in the best position to win this prize will be VTVL launchers like Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space System, who could put a smaller orbital secondary stage (either liquid or solid) on top of their reusable suborbital. I believe Virgin Galactic has also mentioned their interest in launching small orbital satellites this way, with a small orbital launcher mounted on their suborbital manned vehicle.

It's too bad Centennial Challenges is so underfunded, though, particularly when you consider that the Ares I-X suborbital rocket cost NASA ~$500M. Winning any one of these new $1.5M-$2M Challenges will probably do more to advance space exploration than what that accomplished, at a couple orders of magnitude less cost.

$5 million for buying magic carpets and burqa? (-1, Troll)

bigfootchick (1855082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32890854)

I heard from anonymous sources that they will be spending $5 million for buying magic flying carpets and burqas.

Probably the left-over will go for camel feed.... ;)
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?