MSOE’s Lunabotics Team—the Space Raiders—had the opportunity to compete at NASA’s 2024 Lunabotics Challenge. Of the 58 teams that applied to the annual challenge, 42 were invited to the University of Central Florida’s Lunabotics Qualifying Event at the Florida Space Institute’s Exolith Lab in Oviedo, Florida.  

Over the academic year, the Space Raiders worked to design and construct their robot completely from scratch. Their robot had to pass a variety of NASA design reviews and design standards in order to even qualify for the competition. 

The Lunabotics Challenge took place in a 40-foot by 20-foot arena that was made into a replica of the moon including simulated lunar soil, rocks and craters. Each team had to remotely maneuver their robot throughout the arena and avoid obstacles. Once it reached the other side, the robot was tested again and required to build a berm out of the lunar simulant. Teams only had 15 minutes to complete these tasks and could complete two runs. Unfortunately, the Space Raiders had to make repairs missing the first run but were able to complete their second.

“For the students, this was an experience with a complex design project and a team building experience as well,” said Michael Swedish, mechanical engineering associate professor. “The MSOE team was able to overcome the disappointments early in the competition to achieve the demonstration of their robot.”

Students who comprised this competition team include:

  • Ruth Dobberpuhl, mechanical engineering
  • John Dunne, mechanical engineering
  • Kali Ewert, computer engineering
  • Adeline Gorman, mechanical engineering
  • Nachiket Khambholja, biomedical engineering
  • Megan Overell, mechanical engineering
  • Mason Primus, electrical engineering
  • Payton Strong, electrical engineering
  • Gavin Woodgate, computer science
  • Kevin Wright, mechanical engineering