A disappointing first round in the mining arena kept Cyclone Space Mining from defending its NASA title.
But, the team still made its presence known at the NASA Robotic Mining Competition at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The Iowa Staters will forever be the contest’s first team to successfully run a fully autonomous mining robot.
The result of that run was a huge haul of 500 autonomy points and the contest’s first-ever Caterpillar Autonomy Award. “It’s historic,” said Jim Heise, the team’s faculty advisor. “This is not easy. NASA has been working on full autonomy for eight years.”
One result of that impressive run was an invitation to the first “World Cup” of robotic space mining. The international competition will be July 21-25 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
The invitation has Heise and team members scrambling to check schedules, contact sponsors, raise funds and coordinate logistics.
“The team is very proud of its performance,” Heise said. “The students are disappointed they couldn’t defend the Joe Kosmo Award, but they also understand their historic performance.”