College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Cyclone Space Mining nabs two second-place finishes at NASA Robotic Mining Competition

The Cyclone Space Mining team with their rover in Florida. Photo by Cyclone Space Mining/Facebook

Iowa State University’s Cyclone Space Mining team nabbed two second-place finishes at the 8th annual NASA Robotics Mining Competition last week in Florida.

The team took second place in the categories of “Social Media and Public Engagement” and “Project Outreach.”  The Social Media and Public Engagement category is “[a]warded to the teams that uses various social media platforms to engage the public in their participation with RMC [the Robotic Mining Competition] and engages with NASA and other robotic teams” while the Project Outreach category is “[a]warded to the teams with the best educational outreach project in their local community to engage students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Outreach activities should capitalize on the excitement of NASA’s discoveries to spark student (K-12) interest and involvement in STEM.”

Faculty advisor Jim Heise said he was proud of the team’s performance.

“While we had hoped to do better we are proud of what we did accomplish. We collected the most regolith ever for our team in this competition but robot weight, reliability, and other things yet to be determined factored in to this week’s results. This is a great and challenging competition which pushes our students to their limits, and they respond with tireless effort as many got little sleep this week,” said Heise. “We will be back next year with our best effort and will hopefully do much better. The field of competition has definitely improved – as have we – so we will need to be focused and at the top of our game. The team is already formulating plans to address issues that we encountered. Thanks to everyone who has supported us and encouraged us this year, this truly takes a team effort and you are a part of our team!”


List of Award Winners

Joe Kosmo Excellence Award

University of Alabama

On-Site Mining

1) University of Alabama
2) University of Colorado at Boulder
3) Illinois Institute of Technology


1) University of Alabama
2) Case Western Reserve University
3) Virginia Tech

Social Media

1) University of Central Florida
2) Iowa State University
3) University of Alabama

Outreach Project

1) University of Alabama
2) Iowa State University
3) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach

Systems Engineering Paper

1) Case Western Reserve University
2) University of Alabama
3) University of Utah

Caterpillar Autonomy Award

1) University of Alabama
2) University of Illinois at Chicago
3) University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Effective Communications

University of Alabama

Regolith Mechanics

Worchester Polytechnic University

Innovation Award

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach

For more info, click here