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NASA to hold national robot challenge in Worcester

June 4, 2013

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Eleven teams from around the globe are gearing up to compete in NASA’s 2013 Sample Return Robot Challenge at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The goal is to demonstrate a robot that can locate and collect geologic samples from a variety of terrains without human control.

The challenge takes place Wednesday through Friday in Worcester. The prize is $1.5 million.

NASA officials say the objective of the contest is to encourage innovations in autonomous navigation and robotics technologies.

Officials hope the innovations could improve the agency’s ability to explore a variety of destinations in space while also enhancing the nation’s robotic technology for use in industries and other applications on Earth.

This is the second such competition.

Last year’s contest was also held at WPI, but none of the robots were able to meet the challenge.

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