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Centennial Challenges 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).




This notice is issued in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 2451(314)(d). The 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge is scheduled and teams that wish to compete may register. Centennial Challenges is a program of prize competitions to stimulate innovation in technologies of interest and value to NASA and the nation. The 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge is a prize competition designed to encourage development of new technologies or application of existing technologies in unique ways to create robots that can autonomously seek out samples and return to a designated point in a set time period. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) of Worcester, Massachusetts administers the Challenge for NASA. NASA is providing the prize purse.


2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge will be held June 15-18, 2012.


2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge will be conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA.

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To register for or get additional information regarding the 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge, please visit:​challenge/​.

For general information on the NASA Centennial Challenges Program please visit:​challenges. General questions and comments regarding the program should be addressed to Dr. Larry Cooper, Centennial Challenges Program, NASA Headquarters 300 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20546-0001. E-mail address:

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Autonomous robot rovers will seek out samples and return them to a designated point in a set time period. Samples will be randomly placed throughout the roving area. They may be placed close to obstacles, both movable and immovable. Robots will be required to navigate over unknown terrain, around obstacles, and in varied lighting conditions to identify, retrieve, and return these samples. Winners will be determined based on the number of samples returned to the designated collection point as well as the value assigned to the samples.

I. Prize Amounts

The total Sample Return Robot Challenge purse is $1,500,000 (one million five hundred thousand U.S. dollars). Prizes will be offered for entries that meet specific requirements detailed in the Rules.

II. Eligibility

To be eligible to win a prize competitors must (1) register and comply with all requirements in the Start Printed Page 56820rules and team agreement; (2) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and (3) shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

III. Rules

The complete rules and team agreement for the 2012 Sample Return Robot Challenge can be found at:​challenge/​.

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Dated: August 8, 2011.

Joseph Parrish,

Deputy Chief Technologist, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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[FR Doc. 2011-23506 Filed 9-13-11; 8:45 am]