Design Engineering

Canadian lunar robot rocks NASA competition

By Design Engineering Staff   

General Aerospace Aerospace Laurentian University NASA Robotics

Laurentian University mechanical engineering students set world record at NASA’s lunar mining robotics contest.

Eight mechanical engineering students from Sudbury’s Laurentian University claimed victory at the international NASA Lunabotics competition in Florida, beating out engineering teams from 40 international universities.

The team designed, built and operated a remote-controlled excavating unit or lunabot that set a world record for the competition, digging up more than 243 kilograms of simulated moon rock in 15 minutes. The second place team dug up and deposited just over 172 kilograms.

Laurentian team member Myles Chisholm with a canister of the simulated moon dirt (lunar regolith) used in the Nasa Lunabot competition.

All of the lunar robots were designed to excavate and deposit a synthetic material (lunar regolith) that simulates the lunar surface. The teams have to wear protective gear when handling the simulant, and otherwise operate the machine remotely via laptop, from inside a trailer.

The winning team members include Samuel Carriere, Patrick Chartrand, Stephane Chiasson, Myles Chisholm, Drew Dewit, Greg Lakanen, Jeffrey Pagnutti, and Jean-Sebastien Sonier. The students are among Laurentian’s four-year-old engineering program and designed their lunabot as part of their senior project


As their prize, the Laurentian team will receive a $5,000.00 scholarship and an invitation to Cape Canaveral to view a Shuttle launch.


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