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RMC 2019

So I spent a week down in Tuscaloo, Alabama where I was competing into the Robotic Mining Competition. There were some bumps in the road for this so we weren’t even sure if we were even competing this year as they might not even be a competition this year due to the government shutdown because this is a NASA sponsored competition.

And with the government shutdown NASA didn’t have the funding to finish building the new building they were going to use for this years competition and so said it was going to be a virtual competition instead but the University of Alabama stepped up instead and said they’d host it. It wasn’t technically the actual competition but it was treated like it was.

It’s actually a big deal for my college to compete because we’re the only non-engineering college in the competition, like we’re a fine arts college and we’re competing with names like NYU, Alabama (where NASA graduates come from), etc. And we actually didn’t do bad this year.

See, we could’ve actually gotten in the top percentile this year but we just had some driver issues. The thing is, in this competition you have to dig with your bot (in the special regolith meant to mimic martian soil), find the “minerals” within the soil, and then dump it within a designated spot. We needed to dump at least 1 kg worth of material but we had issues with turning (that we figured out later on was due to balancing that we could solve by re-positioning our backhoe but our driver forgot about), and we managed to dig 0.9 kg worth of minerals in one go. However, we got stuck when trying to turn and it took us a while to properly re-position ourselves and once we finally did time ran out.

However, we actually managed to achieve something significant this year. We did something no team has ever done before, when we fell into a hole we actually managed to get ourselves out of the hole. No other team was able to do this but we were due to your backhoe being strong enough to lift ourselves out of the hole. It was a really exciting thing to witness considering we were the first college to do so and we aren’t even an engineering college.

It was a really rewarding experience and it’s something I look forward to doing again next year, (with what looks like once again an entirely new team as most of our members are graduating again or just leaving). We even won an award this year too!

But if you’re interested in learning more you can follow our social media here:

Instagram

And if you wanted to see how our fat little robot looks like it’s this right here

 

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