NASA is challenging college students all over the country to design and build remotely operated excavation vehicles. From May 24th through the 28th 2010 teams competed to collect as much lunar soil as possible in 15 minutes. My team, LunaCY, entered the competition as part of a multidisciplinary design class (ME 467x). The class aims to bring engineering students from different departments together to solve challenging engineering problems. Our team included mechanical engineers, industrial engineers and a material engineer.

During the fall semester, Team LunaCY designed the mechanical systems of the excavator. I joined the team at the beginning of the spring semester. My main roles on the team were designing and implementing electronic systems and programing the controls for the excavator. I also helped machine and assemble structural components.

We made an excellent showing at the competition. Although we didn’t place, everyone had fun and learned a lot. Recently I’ve been helping transition Team LunaCY into a club that collaborates with other courses such as multidisciplinary design classes ME 466 and 467x and the Mechanical Engineering Capstone class ME 415. With the help of our faculty adviser Jim Heise we will continue to improve our design and return for the 2011 Lunabotics Mining Competition.