Lunabotics Crowd

Lunatics at Lunabotics

I’m here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center serving as a Judge at the 4th annual Lunabotics competition. We’ve got 50 teams in the competition, and each team gets two attempts at mining as much simulated lunar soil as they can. Teams have come here from around the world – Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, India, Mexico, Poland – and the US.

Every team has its story, of course. Some schools are here for the first time, and some have long since graduated the students that started their teams. Some of the competitors are actually missing their college graduations to be here. One of the teams had half their robot go missing on the way here, and they’ve spent the week attempting to build a new one out of spare parts.

I’m judging in the Mission Control Center, where we don’t get to see the robots up close, but we do have a ringside seat for the human drama. When something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong) the team has to fall back on the strength of its bonds, and I have to admit that I have been genuinely impressed by just how strong some of these student teams are. They are doing a great job out here.

Alabama getting ready for a practice run

Alabama getting ready for a practice run

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