SUNY Poly Mechanical Engineering Team Reaches Semi-Finals in NASA-sponsored Competition

SUNY Poly Mechanical Engineering Team Reaches Semi-Finals in NASA-sponsored Competition

Monday, January 25, 2021 - 14:16
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A SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) mechanical engineering senior project team has achieved semi-finalist status in the NASA-sponsored “Moon and Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge” as a result of their project plan, “Polytechnic Ice Surveyal, Collection, and Extraction System (PISCES).” The competition challenges student teams from around the nation to design, construct, and demonstrate a robot which in simulated lunar or Martian soil can drill through layers of regolith, rock, and ice, melt ice and extract liquid, and separate sediment from the water. NASA has provided a $5,000 stipend to support the construction of the robot.

The team includes students Richard Skellham, Rigel Archangel, Carl Hansen and Justin Jackson, with faculty advisor and SUNY Poly Engineering Professor Dr. William Durgin and Barry Smith, external advisor and NASA Solar System Ambassador who retired from work at the Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA.

NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) selected SUNY Poly’s team to compete in the next round when the number of teams will be further winnowed down before earning a spot to compete in the finals based on their project details and video submissions.

The 10 finalist teams will receive an invitation to participate in an on-site competition at NASA’s Langley Research Center next June. The SUNY Poly robot will be required to demonstrate ability to drill and extract through a 1 meter thick layer of the simulated lunar/martial soil and ice, and extract and filter the water recovered.

More information about the program is available here.