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LU students developing technology to mine on the moon

A group of students from Laurentian University, along with professionals from the mining technology firm Penguin ASI, will be competing in the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge from Oct. 16-18 at the NASA Ames Research Park in California, USA.
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Dr. Greg Baiden (middle), and Steffon Luoma, from Penguin ASI, test Laurentian University’s excavator for CBC reporter Megan Thomas. They will be competing in the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge in California, USA, from October 16 to 18, 2009. Supplied photo.
A group of students from Laurentian University, along with professionals from the mining technology firm Penguin ASI, will be competing in the 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge from Oct. 16-18 at the NASA Ames Research Park in California, USA.

The team, Laurentian ROCK, composed of students, creative engineers and industry professionals, will focus on the development of new technologies to excavate lunar regolith.

Regolith is a layer of loose material such as dust, soil and broken rock, which covers solid rock.

The teams that can, using telerobotic or autonomous operation, excavate the most lunar regolith from a supplied quantity of regolith within a specified time limit will win the NASA challenge and be eligible to receive first, second or third prize, valued at US $500,000.00, $150,000.00 and $100,000.00 respectively.

“It is with great pleasure that our team takes part in this innovative and challenging event. This opportunity also provides a once in a lifetime experience for Laurentian students and local industry professionals to collaborate and assist in our nation's space exploration initiatives,” said Dr. Greg Baiden, team leader, professor in Laurentian’s School of Engineering, and director of Penguin ASI, in a news release.

Penguin ASI’s vast experience with robotics and automation, as well as their recent collaborations with the Canadian Space Agency, puts them in an exceptional position to lead Laurentian Rock in this challenge, and raise significant awareness for Canadian Research and Development, stated the news release.

“Our goal is to show that Sudbury students and industry professionals can compete on an international stage among highly skilled university teams and companies in the development of robots able to complete the tasks faced in a unique and challenging environment,” said Dr. Yassiah Bissiri of Penguin ASI.

The Laurentian ROCK team is proudly sponsored by Penguin ASI, Canada Lithium Corporation, the City of Greater Sudbury, PDAC, Applied Minds, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines & Forestry, MDA Robotics, Petryna Advertising, Declan J. O’Donnell and the CIM.



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