Lunabotic Team Wins NASA Joe Kosmo Excellence Award

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News Article

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College of Engineering & Mines


A team of University of North Dakota students scored top marks in the recent National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lunabotics competition.

Competing against 45 other teams from universities around the world, UND took top honors--the Joe Kosmo Award of Excellence--for scoring the most points in the competition, which took place May 26-28 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The competition’s objective was to design and build a robot capable of collecting and depositing lunar dirt.

UND’s team, which consisted of 12 students and two professors form the UND School of Engineering and Mines, constructed a skid steer-type robot for the competition.

The Joe Kosmo Award of Excellence--named after famed NASA space suit engineer--combines the scores (points earned) from all competition categories. It includes a school trophy, Kennedy launch invitations, and up to $1,500 travel expenses for each team member and one faculty advisor to attend NASA Desert RATS. The team also placed second in the on-site mining competition earning a $2,500 cash award.

The competition also requires the teams to conduct outreach activities for K-12 students to increase the public’s understanding of NASA’s importance and to generate interest in math and science among K-12 students. The UND team excelled in its outreach activities which included presentations, mentoring, and providing learning activities to elementary, middle, and high school students. Some of the venues for these activities were FIRST LEGO League, the ND Science Fair, (both held on UND’s campus) and the 3-Day Space Series at Ben Franklin Elementary School.

The team consisted of Mechanical Engineering students Daniel Basom, Andrea Dickason, Michael Gereszek, Benjamin Gunvalson, Jacob Hultberg, and Kaylein Tradup; electrical engineering students Jason Eisenzimmer, Craig Kennedy, Joshua Rogers, and Chul Ho Yang; computer science students Sanchit Goyal and Bharat Kulkarni. Faculty advisors for the team are Dr. Jeremiah Neubert (ME) and Dr. Naima Kaabouch (EE).

As a result of their work, Joshua Rogers and Benjamin Gunvalson will be offered NASA fellowships.

This UND project was sponsored by NASA, North Dakota Space Consortium, Autodesk, Boise Paper, Bobcat Corporation, Bobcat of Grand Forks, Otter Tail Power Company, Rydell Chevrolet, UND School of Engineering and Mines, Dean’s Office, Department of Electrical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost and Student Organization Funding Agency (SOFA).