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May 9, 2013 2:59 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

NASA Looks to Students to Design Robots for Space

CORPUS CHRISTI -- NASA is holding its 4th annual lunabotics mining competition at the Kennedy Space Center later this month.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi is one of 50 universities building a lunabot in hopes of winning the grand prize.

A lunabot is a space robot, the students have been constructing for months for competition. Jessica Lynch, is part of this year's team. She says lunabots are used to collect dirt from space to be studied.

"We started this last fall doing design work, figuring out what's the best way to implement the auger system in terms of making sure what would collect the dirt better," Lynch said.

Lynch says in the last few months, the team has taped, measured and met the contest requirements in order to execute the objective, which is to make sure the robot can collect at least 10 kilograms of dirt in 10 minutes.

"I'm hoping to just see our robot work, really, just to see it actually collect dust and put it in the bin and hope we get points," Lynch said

Scores are based on several factors, including how the lunabot is operated, in this case, with the touch of a keyboard.

"It's controlled wirelessly with a computer since the controls will have to be in a separate room from the actual robot," Lynch said.

NASA is searching for the sharpest and most creative engineering students in the world, to do so, they help fund projects like this across the country.

"They've funded us money to help work on the project and also for transportation," Lynch said.

The students are heading to florida in two weeks for the competition. They hope to win scholarship money for their team.

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