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NASA Hosts Awards Celebration for Space Robotics Challenge Prize Winners

Press Release From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017

NASA is awarding up to $600,000 in prizes to the winners of the Space Robotics Challenge, a competition open to teams of citizen inventors competing to develop and master technologies within a virtual environment that can someday be used on real robotic hardware.

Media are invited to attend the awards ceremony for the Space Robotics Challenge at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 30, hosted by Space Center Houston, located at 1601 E. NASA Parkway. Immediately following the ceremony, finalists, winners and Therese Griebel, from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., will be available for interviews. Members of the news media who wish to attend should contact Molly Porter for registration at molly.a.porter@nasa.gov before 10 a.m. on June 30.

Robots that can perform complex tasks without human control will work alongside the next generation of space explorers. The Space Robotics Challenge, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program since August 2016, is a public prize competition to develop the capabilities of humanoid robot dexterity to better enable them to work alongside and independent of astronauts in preparation for future space exploration. The finalists were selected from a pool of 92 teams from 13 countries.

The final round of competition was held June 13-16 in a virtual environment, where teams had to program a virtual robot, modeled after NASA’s humanoid R5 robot, to complete a series of tasks in a simulation that includes periods of latency to represent the communications delay from Earth to Mars. Each team’s R5 had to resolve the aftermath of a dust storm that damaged a Martian habitat. This included three objectives: aligning a communications dish, repairing a solar array, and fixing a habitat leak.

The Top 20 teams, in alphabetical order, are:

BIT PLEASE - Cypress, Texas
Coordinated Robotics - Newbury Park, California
Mingo Mountain Robotics - Kettle Falls, Washington
MITs - Tokyo, Japan
Mystic - The Woodlands, Texas
Nevermore - Jersey City, New Jersey
Ring of the Nibelungs - Medford, Massachusetts
Sirius - South Hadley, Massachusetts
SpaceBucs - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Space Weavers - San Jose, California
Team AL v.2.0 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Team Olympus Mons - Barcelona, Spain
Team Olrun - Evansville, Indiana
THE HUMANZ ARE DEAD - Boston, Massachusetts
Walk Softly - Erie, Pennsylvania
Whalers - Nantucket, Massachusetts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Humanoid Robotics Lab – Worcester, Massachusetts
WV Robotics Team – Fairmont, West Virginia
Xion Systems – Fresno, California
ZARJ – St. Paul, Minnesota

NASA’s Centennial Challenges program is part of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA uses challenges to gather the best and brightest minds in academia, industry and government to drive innovation and enable solutions in important technology focus areas.

For more information about the Space Robotics Challenge, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacebot

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