NASA Centennial Challenges
NASA Centennial Challenges encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies that 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 here on Earth.
The 2013 NASA Challenge will begin June 5 and culminate with the TouchTomorrow festival on June 8.
Sample Return Robot Challenge
From June 4-9, fourteen teams from around the world will come to WPI to compete in the second NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge with a chance to win a $1.5 million prize. The teams, hailing from as far away as Estonia, Canada, from Massachusetts to California, will attempt to build, program, and demonstrate robots that can navigate a complex terrain while seeking out samples that they must return to a designated point in a set period of time.
The Return Robot Challenge was designed by WPI in 2012 and marked the first time a college campus hosted a NASA Centennial Challenge. Like all Centennial Challenges it promotes technological innovations that could aid in NASA’s mission and work—in this case the development of a new generation of autonomous planetary rovers to explore diverse landscapes.
A leader in robotics research and education at all levels, NASA chose WPI in 2012 as the first and only college to host a NASA Centennial Challenge. WPI not only created the first bachelor’s degree in robotics in the nation but also regularly manages robotics competitions, is on the cutting-edge of robotics research and technology, and sponsors a wide variety of programs that foster the use of robots to solve societal problems.
Due to the great success of TouchTomorrow 2012, NASA has decided to come back and again host the Challenge at WPI.