University of Alabama Astrobotics Team working to defend title at NASA competition

University of Alabama Astrobotics Team working to defend title at NASA competition

The University of Alabama's Astrobotics Team is heading to the Kennedy Space Cener.

The team hopes to defend its national title in NASA's Robotic Mining Competition.

If this year's team comes out on top, it will be the first time ever for a team to take the title two consecutive years.

"Definitely would be something to remember forever if we come back and defend our title," said University of Alabama student, Joe Cabalin.

The UA Astrobotics Team spent the last year preparing for this year's NASA Mining Competition creating a robot they hope will out-work all of them.

"Last year we won with a large point spread, one of the largest dig cycles, most material collected, and this year we've set our own internal goal to see if we can carry the largest loads, fully autonomous as well," Cabalin said.

The goal of the competition is to design and build an excavation robot that NASA could use.

"What NASA is interested in is being able to collect dirt on the surface of the moon, or an asteroid, or mars, because once the dirt is collected and it can be delivered to a processing plant or facility on the surface, it can be turned into oxygen, hydrogen, and water and things like that, that man would need for long presence on that system on the moon or on mars," said Kenny Ricks, an Associate Professor at UA.

Win or lose, the team told ABC 33/40 it is the experience that is most rewarding.

"You learn things in class, why things break, why things don't work, then when they actual break and you have to figure it out yourself it's definitely better than just reading a text book you get the hands on experience," said Cabalin.

NASA's Mining Competition begins Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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