The Mystics - NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge Entry
These three robots built on a Wild Thumper 6WD (75:1) chassis were an entry in the 2013 NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge. Twelve teams originally entered the challenge. Ten teams came to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute but only 9 passed the inspection of the judges.
My Mystic Lake robots passed inspection but due to hardware issues in the last month the software was incomplete. Regardless, there was some software running. During the second run the three robots did the following:
- One died due to an uknown right now computer failure. It will not boot at the moment.
- One manuvered but got stuck on a large concrete block next to a tree. It tried to burrow under but did not succeed.
- One manuvered up a hill, turned, drove toward the lake, detected the orange boundary fence, turned at the fence, went between a tree an the fence and finally tried to turn uphill at another section of fence. The uphill turn and a slight dropoff in the ground caused Mystic Two to rollover.
The video from Mystic Three is in the URLs posted with the project. The run of Three was the longest the challenge has seen in the two events that have taken place.
On Facebook, NASA Technology acknowledge the inegnuity of using the Thumper and all off-the-shelf components. The Mystics were the lightest, smallest, and least expensive rovers in the competition.
This was a year for research and testing. Next year the Mystics' software will be ready and they should collect samples without any problems. The teams that did collect samples this year all competed last year.
I will update this in the next day or so with a link to photos.