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Students Win NASA Moon Robot Competition

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the soon-the-lunar-invasion-will-be-ready dept.

Canada 28

Mikkeles writes "After a grueling five-day test of material-collecting ability, the team from Laurentian University returned home to Sudbury, Canada with the win in NASA's second annual Lunabotics competition. Second place went to North Dakota, and West Virginia University placed third."

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First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337356)


Re:First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337410)

Congratulations! Your prize is a blowjob from Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda.

First cawk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337412)

I ran out of titty skittles :-(

NASA needs a PR budget cut (-1, Offtopic)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337434)

NASA needs a big cut in their PR budget. They're still promoting stuff vaguely related to their mission, while the actual business of launching stuff is being outsourced.

Re:NASA needs a PR budget cut (1)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338842)

NASA spent very little money on this. Most teams were funded by their university and local space grants which almost every state has. The only real expense to NASA was in setting up the final test and the judging.

I graduated from WVU (THIRD PLACE, congratulations guys!) last year so I couldn't participate in this event, but I have participated in similar ones in years past, more elaborate ones even. Trust me they are worth the cost to the tax payer.

It wasn't until praticipating in one of these competitions and saw the actual rael world applications of my school work for the first time did I really buckle down and start to take school seriously.

Re:NASA needs a PR budget cut (1)

eviljolly (411836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338868)

Regardless of how this applies to NASA's missions, fueling this type of creativity today will bring better innovation tomorrow.

Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (2)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337450)

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (4, Informative)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337490)

What's the point of posting if you're going to post a deliberately misleading link? Here's the full paragraph from Wikipedia without your omission:

During the Apollo manned lunar exploration program, NASA astronauts trained in Sudbury to become familiar with shatter cones, a rare rock formation connected with meteorite impacts. However, the popular misconception that they were visiting Sudbury because it purportedly resembled the lifeless surface of the moon dogged the city for years—as recently as 2009, a CBC Radio journalist repeated the moonscape myth in a report aired on The Current,[21] although the show subsequently corrected the error by interviewing NASA astronaut Fred Haise, who confirmed that he had been in Sudbury to study rock formations.[22]

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337898)

apparently you figured it out

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339644)

Maybe he's trying to get a job at Fox News?

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (1)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340166)

Interesting to hear that astronauts trained in Sudbury, I didn't know that.

The first thing that I though when I read the summary is that there's a lot of mining that goes on around Sudbury, so maybe they know a bit about what's involved in collecting rock and/or soil samples.

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337562)

Yes. Typical journalism confusion. It's not the surface terrain that's "like the moon", it's the underlying geology in the bedrock -- i.e. Sudbury is located within a large, deeply eroded impact crater [] . It's the second largest known on Earth, and thus a logical place to send astronauts to study the geology.

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337728)

Actually anyone who has been to Sudbury would certainly agree that it does look like the moon, or at least what you would imagine the moon looks like based on media reports.

The reason for this is all the years of Nickel mining that has resulted in lots of left over piles of mine tailings all over the place. This would no longer be allowed based on todays environmental regulations, but Sudbury has been a big mining town long before society started placing expectations on how to dispose of such things.

The place looks so desolate.

Re:Sudbury's Just Like The Moon... Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36340572)

I actually live in Sudbury and it's not as desolate as you might think. The city is spread out somewhat, but unless you are only driving past it on the highway, it's pretty nice. There are tons of lakes and areas of natural beauty. We get a bad rap because of the mining; there are more industrial areas in the outlying communities, but that can be said for a lot of other towns.

Several decades back, it was rougher. Once they built the "super stack" to send the mining pollutants high up into the atmosphere, the rocks stopped turning black (not kidding). They've found trace amounts of these pollutants as far as Australia.

Canadians and Space (3, Interesting)

farrellj (563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337462)

Yeah Canada!

I mean, we built the legs for the Lunar Module, and that lead to us designing and building the robotic arms used on the Shuttle and the ISS. And many of the top people in the Gemini, and Apollo program were Canadians, hired by NASA after the AVRO Arrow CF-105 was cancelled in the late 1950s.


Re:Canadians and Space (2)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340064)

I cringe every time I see the AVRO Arrow mentioned. Particularly lately with the Harper governments full intention of bending over for the American government.

Canada could be a world leader in aircraft development right now, both militarily and passenger plane wise. An entire starting industry killed off by one phone call from an American.

Since then we still somehow have a pretty decent group of aerospace development talent but lack a driving force for development. The one that we would have had that would have been started by the continuation of the AVRO Arrow project is sadly non-existant. Production and further development would have created factories and a concentration of talent that, even if the project had been canceled 10 or 15 years later, would have drawn in major private aerospace developers. Instead we have one less avenue for global gain and are even more reliant on export of natural resources.

Re:Canadians and Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36340290)

I'm a Canadian, and I'm rather proud of the fact that Canada has made such good contributions to NASA's programs!

Go Canucks Go!! (a quick hockey plug!)

NASA needs bunny girls (0)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337484)

I swear I read that as "NASA Moon Rabbit Competition" first time. Gotta swear off Imperishable Night [] for a while....

Imagine that... (3, Funny)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337492)

Imagine that! Students win a competition for... students. Enlightening title on both /. and NASA

Re:Imagine that... (1)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338770)

Not only that, students took several of the top places! Take that all you other people!

Re:Imagine that... (1)

daniel_i_l (1655579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340956)

I think that that this was the newsworthy part: "returned home to Sudbury, Canada"

RE: Aperture Science [possible spoilers] (0)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337582)

Clearly this is a cover for Aperture Science's moondust-gathering missions. Please get a word out to Mr. Johnson to take precautionary measures against inhaling such dust. These robots are designed to inadvertently deliver the lemons that life wants to give him.

What's with the picture? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337724)

They talk about a winning team and then post a picture of some other team's entry. WTF? I'm curious as to what the winning entry looked like.

Re:What's with the picture? (2)

guppysap13 (1225926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337930)

I participated in this competition, and my team probably has a photo of Laurentian's robot somewhere. In the meantime, this link [] has a picture of the robot. It's difficult to find a larger image anywhere online.

Re:What's with the picture? (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337970)

They talk about a winning team and then post a picture of some other team's entry. WTF? I'm curious as to what the winning entry looked like.

Here you go! []

It is awfully bizarre that the only picture they show is not the winning entry.

Re:What's with the picture? (2)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338088)

Some possible explanation might be inferred from the fact that they spent more time talking about and with the losing US teams than about and with the winning team from another country.

It was a student competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337968)

Of course students won. Can we get a meaningful headline?

'Bot or not? (2)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338846)

From the Canada Press story linked above: []

During the competition, the teams remotely controlled excavators — called "Lunabots" — to determine which could collect the most simulated lunar soil over 15 minutes.

So, were they robots or not?

TO(-riginal)FA doesn't seem to give any details concerning autonomous behavior either.

If they were autonomous, what environmental interaction(-s) did they engage in?

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