Headlines > News > NASA Partners with California Space Authority; Regolith Challenge

NASA Partners with California Space Authority; Regolith Challenge

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:48 am
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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif., (NASA) – NASA today announced that it has signed an agreement with the California Space Authority, Inc., (CSA) to collaborate on participatory science and public outreach using a simulated lunar surface environment.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, CSA will establish an office at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in NASA Research Park. This fall, NASA Ames and CSA, along with its sister organization, the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, will host the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a prize competition focused on developing improved lunar regolith handling technologies.

During the Regolith Challenge scheduled Oct. 17-18, 2009, teams from across the country will design and build robotic machines to excavate simulated lunar soil, otherwise known as regolith, in hopes of winning a $750,000 prize funded by the NASA Centennial Challenges program. CSA will provide a Lunar Regolith Simulant Testbed, a sandbox containing a sand-like material that simulates the lunar surface. The testbed is used for various education and outreach activities, such as the Regolith Challenge.

“We are excited to be collaborating with the California Space Authority to bring the Regolith Excavation Challenge and other CSA events and activities to the Bay Area,” said Greg Schmidt, deputy director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute located at NASA Ames. “There are many synergies between what CSA is doing and the activities based here at NASA Ames, especially so with the NASA Lunar Science Institute. This is a real win-win opportunity for NASA, CSA and the Bay Area.”

“The agreement with NASA Ames will provide CSA with a physical presence in the Silicon Valley and open the door for increased space enterprise activities throughout the state,” said Andrea Seastrand, CSA executive director. “Over the past few years, the Regolith Excavation Challenge has grown into a thriving competitive event and has incubated regolith research and innovative opportunities. We welcome this chance to partner with NASA Ames Research Center.”

The California Space Authority is a nonprofit organization supporting California’s commercial, civil and national security space stakeholders.

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