Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mines Moonrockers Team Ranks Among Top 10 at NASA Competition

RAPID CITY, SD (May 8, 2018) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Moonrockers team took home 7th place at the 2018 NASA Robotic Mining Competition held May 14-18, at the Kennedy Space Center. The annual event brings together more than 50 college teams and 500 students from around the country. The Mines Moonrockers team placed ahead of schools like Colorado School of Mines, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.

 The competition challenges students to design and build a robot that can mine the icy regolith (gravel) from the planet Mars. According to NASA, “This water ice will provide oxygen, water and fuel for future off-world colonists.” The robots will be challenged to collect as much simulated lunar regolith within a 10-minute period.

The 16-member SD Mines team has been working on their robot for the past eight months. The Moonrockers team was started in 2009 to take part in the first NASA sponsored robotic mining competition. Each year, a new SD Mines student team makes significant changes and alterations to the machine to improve its function.  

In past competitions SD Mines teams have also done well, placing 10th in 2016 overall and 2nd in the autonomous category. In 2017, the team placed 20th overall.

Mines mechanical engineering associate professor Jason Ash, Ph.D., serves as one of the advisors to the team. “I think the overall biggest advantage of our team is its multidisciplinary nature,” Ash says, noting that team members come from mechanical, computer and electrical engineering departments. “It’s a very dedicated team.”

Those interested in following the Moonrockers can check out their Facebook page.


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, (605) 394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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