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A Look at The 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge July 10, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in Astrobotic, Regolith Excavation Challenge.

Coming up this October 17-18th is the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge, a competition where teams build rovers to process as much simulated lunar soil as they can in a timeframe.

The moon’s regolith is central to all things lunar—it’s both the biggest obstacle to sustained living there, and also the reason for going there at all. It also shields from radiation, proving a handy resource for both helium-3 and for actual base composition.

Thus, systems for processing it are central to moon colonization, and this $750,000 prize is designed to spur ideas and designs for improved methods. The processing can be seen on a spectacular scale in the top-notch sci-fi film  ‘Moon“, currently in theaters (with some of the film’s best shots being the huge spew of excess regolith the harvesters continually expunge).

The Regolith Excavation competition has been held in previous years; check below for a neat video from 2008’s Team Waldbaum (with plenty others on Youtube):

This year, a heavy hitter is in on the competition: leading Google Lunar X PRIZE competitor Astrobotic.  It’ll be interesting to see who else joins the fray, so keep an eye here for updates…


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