Members of the Oregon State University Mars Rover Team prepare their robot to attempt the level one competition at the 2014 NASA Centennial Challenges Sample Return Robot Challenge at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass.
Eighteen teams are competing for a $1.5 million NASA prize purse. Teams will be required to demonstrate autonomous robots that can locate and collect samples from a wide and varied terrain, operating without human control. The objective of this NASA-WPI Centennial Challenge is to encourage innovations in autonomous navigation and robotics technologies. Innovations stemming from the challenge may improve NASA's capability to explore a variety of destinations in space, as well as enhance the nation's robotic technology for use in industries and applications on Earth.