New Space and Tech

Sample Return Robot Challenge: NASA Centennial Challenge for an autonomous exploration robot

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
Filed under , , , ,

From: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Category: Science & Technology
Partners: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Prizes: $1,500,000

To demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from a wide and varied terrain without human control. The prize purse is $1.5 million.  The detailed rules and competition plans will be announced in the coming months.  The competition is expected to occur in 2012.  More information at and

Submission Period: Start: Sep 01, 2011

Update: Draft Rules for Sample Return Robot Challenge have been posted for public comment at The public and potential competitors may provide input on the draft rules until June 17, 2011. After the 17th, the rules will be removed from the website, modified by the judging committee, and then final rules posted on or around June 28, 2011.

More information at

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.