A remote-controlled rover built by Caltech students won second place in a Houston competition while team members steered it from a basement in the Pasadena institute.
The RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops, which took place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center May 30-June 1, gave eight teams $10,000 to build a rover. The competition funded three members and an advisor to travel to Houston.
Caltech engineering professor Joel Burdick and three students went to the competition while the remaining members stayed home, operating the rover from a control center in the Spalding Laboratory.
Rovers had to pick up rocks and traverse a landscape that included a sand pit and “lunar craters,” according to Caltech.
Worcester Polytechnic University won first place and the University of Maryland won third place. But it wasn’t a loss for the Caltech team; They won $4,000 for placing second, which they plan to use to fund future robotic endeavors, according to the university.
-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News