RASC-AL program staff will respond to questions presented by eligible student and faculty from accredited colleges and universities in the United States
Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
A Q&A Session was hosted on October 17, 2019.
You can view files from that session below. Answers to the questions received on-call can be found on the Q&A Summary Document.
The RASC-AL Special Edition: Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge is open to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics and related disciplines at an accredited U.S.-based college or university. Teams may include senior capstone courses, robotics clubs, multi-university teams, multi-disciplinary teams, etc. Undergraduate and graduate students may work in collaboration together on the same team.
Foreign universities are not eligible to participate in the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge. However, foreign students who are attending a U.S.-based university are eligible to participate with their team. However, please note that due to prohibitive restrictions and ever-changing NASA security regulations, foreign nationals will not be able to attend the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge Forum on-site at NASA. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
Yes, multiple teams from the same university can submit separate proposals for the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge, and multiple teams from the same university may move on to the next round of the competition if their project plans merit selection into the program.
Yes, absolutely. We understand that sometimes things change between the time abstracts were submitted and the time the written report is due. We just ask that you list every person who contributed to your project in the final report.
Yes, industry collaboration is certainly acceptable - and encouraged! The RASC-AL competitions are unique university competitions, because they focus on garnering real ideas and concepts that can be incorporated into NASA future mission planning. Teams that perform well are often ones that have true support of their faculty advisors and collaborations with industry.
Each team will receive a monetary award to facilitate full participation in the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge onsite competition.
One Faculty Advisor is required to attend the Forum with each team, and is a condition for acceptance into the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge. Advisors can provide guidance and insight into the team's decisions, as well as acting as a primary contact point between the RASC-AL coordinators and the universities.
Teams who do not have a faculty advisor present at the Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge onsite competition will be disqualified from competing and participation awards will be subject to return to NIA.
No, it will be conducted at 1 atmosphere.
It's a 22 qt. (20 L) bucket.
The physical system you build and bring to the competition does not. However, in your paper, you must describe the changes and accommodations that would need to be made such that your system could be used in the Martian or Lunar environment.
The power limitation applies to the full drilling system, with the exception of the independent remote crew controlled computer (if used). Likewise, batteries are not allowed for any part of the system.
No. Only 5 team members and 1 faculty advisor may attend the onsite competition at NASA Langley Research Center.
It does not include captions.
The approach to scoring the digital core (including specific information teams will be asked to provide for each overburden layer) is being updated to better match the 2020 challenge set-up. Teams who move on to the next phase of the competition will be provided with the scoring matrix and digital core requirements upon selection as finalists.
(Date of posting: 11/5/19)
Yes, you may have multiple drills within the system, but the total mass and volume of the entire system must meet the stated design constraints.
The power restrictions apply to the entire drill system, including the heating and filtration subsystems
The weight on bit pertains to the entire downward force of all components operating in the ice hole. The total maximum downward force simultaneously exerted (sum of all the parts pressing down) on the test bed is limited to 150N.
So, for instance, if you use the rotor to move the dirt, and it operates alone, it can exert 150N. A cutting tool that then works alone to drill into the ice could also exert 150N. However, if these two devices were ever operating simultaneously, then the total combined force would be limited to 150N, and each tool would be limited to exerting less than 150N individually.
Our intent was to have a height limit of 2m above the lid, for safety reasons.
We will take measurements of your drill while it is sitting on the floor, before it is mounted to the test stand. Your drill system should be set up to allow us to measure the maximum potential dimensions (i.e., the drill bit will need to be raised to the maximum height that it would reach during the competition) - which should not exceed 2 meters tall.
You don't need to include receipts for how you've spent your stipends for the mid point review. However, you will be asked to include a budget recognizing sponsors, grants, and estimated dollar amounts in your final technical paper.
This is fine so long as there is a guard/safe-proof that will keep the drill from going through the cooler. No more than 38 inches of the drill may enter the cooler.
Ultimately, we want you to stick to the Design Constraints requirement that says your power cannot exceed 10 amps.
If you do go above, you'll receive the stated penalty - but we also want you to understand that going above the 10 amps puts your team (and your fellow competitors and other workers in the hangar) at a large risk. Overloading the system by exceeding 10 amps has the serious potential to trip the breakers in the hangar.
An occasional minor deviation that dips above 10 amps will likely not be a major issue. However, it is not acceptable to try to pull 20 amps for a while and then 1 amp for a while to "fix" your average.
Teams may manually move/reposition their drills between subsequent “hands-off” operations without penalty. However, if a team plans to use manual repositioning, careful consideration should be taken in the path-to-flight section of their Project Plan Proposal to articulate how this would translate into operations off-Earth.
Teams have been instructed to design and construct a system with a 9 A fast blow fuse, the make/model/exact performance of which was up to the teams. NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace are officially revising/updating that design constraint to specify that the performance of the 9 A fast blow fuse should be equivalent or better than Bussman Series AGC. This is an industry standard fast acting glass fuse that will maintain minimum performance but still allow teams to choose a fuse that can protect what you need to protect as well. The link provided is a manufacturer's data sheet that contains the performance information we require teams to meet or exceed.
You would not need to drill into a new separate hole, but because you are touching the system to install the new assembly, this would be considered a hands-ON run and any water collected would be scored as such. You would be able to use the same hole.
Anything not readily replicable in an Earth-based test bed, e.g., gravity, pressure, and temperature. Constraints you choose to ignore are trade decisions your team has to make and decide for yourselves. Make sure you acknowledge and justify any design trades, and include a discussion on what changes you would need to make to the system to make it capable of operating on the moon/Mars in your Path-to-Flight section.