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Eldora, IA, United States, 2008/02/07 - Various NASA Challenge participants have established online community web pages for discussing the challenge – now the Regolith Excavation Challenge has a community website.
Completely “Unofficial” and totally independent of NASA, CSEWI and CSA, ACME Robotics has launched a community web page to discuss the upcoming Regolith Excavation Challenge with other participants as well as the general public.
“I spend a lot of time on the Internet conducting research and preparing for the challenge” states Don C. Dhabolt, Team Leader for ACME Robotics. “Other NASA challenge participants have community web pages, why not the Regolith Challenge? To fill the need, Don created the UNOFFICIAL Regolith Excavation Challenge Forum.
The biggest hurdle is convincing other teams to participate, Don believes. “It is a competition. Everyone wants to win – everyone is quite secretive. However, I believe many questions can be answered, opinions voiced and ideas shared without revealing critical team information” he said.
There is a FAQ section of the California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSEWI) Regolith Excavation Challenge website. “While informative, it’s not very personal,” says Mr. Dhabolt. Having an online community that specifically targets the challenge participants seemed to be the next logical step.
Topics in the forum include Robotics, Rule Interpretations and General Announcements. There is also a Calendar function allowing users to post upcoming events. “I’ve been working on a USA map showing each team’s general geographical location and a team bio page too,” Don says.
If users indicate a need for real-time chat, Mr. Dhabolt will implement that function too. “My ultimate goal is making the road to the challenge an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. The competition will be tough enough, that’s for sure,” Don says, “At least we can get to know one another a little and have some fun along the way.” The UNOFFICIAL Regolith Excavation Challenge Forum can be found online. Registration is free but required.
ACME Robotics officially announced their intent to enter the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge on December 11, 2007. We dig Moon Dirt for Fun™ is their slogan and Sponsorship opportunities are still available. The Competition is one of NASA’s Centennial challenges with a total purse of $750,000. Simply stated, $500,000 will be awarded to the team robot that can dig the most (simulated) moon dirt – or regolith – and shovel it into a container during a 30 minute time limit.
The California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSEWI) will administer the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge, which is also Co-Hosted by the California Space Authority (CSA). The event will be held August 2 and 3 in the Engineering Plaza on the campus of California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California.
Don C. Dhabolt is the Team Leader of ACME Robotics, and the Director of Operations for IT RealityString LLC, a small Information Technology Consulting firm located in Eldora, Iowa and La Crosse, Wisconsin.