NASA is currently in the process of constructing a new robot with a view to sending American astronauts to the Moon. The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) aims to mine the Moon for resources such as ice that would supply drinking water, rocket fuel, and oxygen.
The challenges of the mission are not few
However, the problem lays in the limitations of spaceflight, implying that the robots need to be small and lightweight. On Earth, these robots could already face the challenge.
On the other hand, while in the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, the light machines do not have enough traction to meet the expectations. Accordingly, innovation is required.
NASA has already implemented a simulant sandbox at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where they test various possibilities for RASSOR to improve. As far as the technical part is concerned, the robot has to burrow itself in the soil and dig. However, NASA aims to better the design and is requesting public help.
NASA asks the public to assist in improving RASSOR Moon-mining robot
NASA aims to improve the robot’s design in such a way that RASSOR could dig and hold more lunar soil and regolith. Therefore, they created the RASSOR Bucket Drum Design Challenge and the deadline to enter this competition is 20 April 2020.
The 3D modeling website GrabCAD is organizing the contest, where the competitors are asked to provide authentic work and a short description of their product functions. The participants must present a unique design, which has not been formally exhibited.
The Judging criteria include bucket drum mass, diameter, the design’s practicality, the volume of regolith captured, length and width of the scoops, as well as precision of over 50 percent of the digging and holding capacity. RASSOR, in the end, would be a great help for the future crewed Moon mission.