By Lawrence Chan
GAINESVILLE—The Gator Robotics Club intends to put a robot on the moon.
After an ill-timed mechanical failure at last year’s NASA Robotics Mining Competition, UF’s NASA Robotics Mining Competition team is once again preparing for an interplanetary mission.
“Plainly, our robot worked last year but did absolutely nothing,” Said Evan Brady, 20-year-old mechanical engineering junior and mechanical project head for Lunabotics.
“Our goal this year is to fix him up and upgrade him better than before.”
The goal of NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition is to create a robot that can collect at least 10 kilograms of very fine, potentially hazardous sand that simulates what would be found on another planet in 10 minutes, said Brady who has been team lead for two years.
Brady said his team is rebuilding the robot from scratch and completely redesigning the hardware so last year’s mechanical failures will not be repeated.
“We’re holding planning sessions every week with the team to figure out how to build the robot better,” Said Brady.
Many of this year’s project team members have only recently joined Gator Robotics. However, Brady said he was confident in their abilities.
The winning team receives the Joe Kosmo Award for Excellence and a $5,000 team scholarship. Startup funding granted by institutions like the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium and Student Government has amounted to about $7,000 so far.
“We’re already finished designing the new robot,” Said Kevin French, electrical head of Project Nasabotics.
French said that his team just needs to order the parts and test their stability before they can start manufacturing the new robot.
“Our goal this year is to have him operational by the end of the Fall semester,” Said French.