A team of twenty undergraduates of Physics from Kirori Mal College are set to participate in a NASA sponsored international aerospace competition RASC-AL (Revolutionary Aerospace Systems and Academic Linkage). The Robo Physicist Society of Kirori Mal College, under the guidance of Dr. Sumitra Mohanty (Department of Physics), submitted one of the seven papers on Enabling Long Duration Missions through Holistic Habitat Design which were shortlisted for the further competition.

The competition RASC-AL will be held from 17th to 19th June, 2014 in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA. Being the only Indian team among the fourteen other shortlisted teams from all over the world, they will be working on designing a transit habitat for astronauts enabling them to stay longer in the space. The project will be partially funded by Delhi University, although there is lack of funds and the college is looking for sponsors.

The Robo Physicist Society of KMC, in the past five years has participated in NASA Great MOONBuggy Race, Lunabotics, the Rover Challenge and for the first time in RASC-AL. “Being the only team to win two awards last year at Lunabotics gave us the confident to participate in RASC-AL this year for the first time.” said Dr. Sumitra Mohanty, “Our team got selected and we are really proud of that.” According to Rashi Monga, a second year student of Physics of the college, they had to study the basics of astronomy and other technical terms to get a better understanding of their project. “Once getting selected in the competition, we were given a call in which we were described what we had to do and what were the requirements from the NASA site. The language was not related to physics basically so we had to start our study from the basics.” If they win the competition, they will be given a presentation slot in the aerospace conference organized by two of the major aerospace societies including AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) enabling them to present their views to scientists and astronauts.

Apart from RASC-AL, the team will also be participating in the annual University Rover Challenge at Mars Desert Research Station in deserts of southern Utah. “This is a completely KMC based project involving no other team.” Said Rashi Monga, “Unlike previously, we have to build a robot which could not only dig but also walk on the rugged terrain of Mars along with conducting scientific data like being able to distinguish which type of bacteria is present in the soil.”

The Robo Physicist Society and the Department of Physics are proud to a part of the competition and plan to do well.
Image credits: KMC Robo Physicists Facebook page

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) organized the Lunabotics Mining Competition in which it challenged university level students to design and build a lunar excavator, known as a LUNABOT, that can mine on lunar surface. Kirori Mal College in collaboration with Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi (whose Lunabot was on display at Antardhvani 2013) was one of the 50 International institutions invited to participate in NASA’s Fourth Annual Lunabotics The Mining Competition was held at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA from the 20th to 24th of May 2013. The KMC-CIC Lunabotics Team was one of the 12 exceptional teams whose Lunabot was successfully able to mine and dump the lunar simulant. It was the only Indian team to bring laurels to their country by winning two awards out of the five categories at the prestigious event. They won the second position for the outreach category as well as for Luna’s worldwide campaign category.

Dr. Sumitra Mohanty, Assoc Prof. Dept. of Physics was the faculty advisor of the team. The unflinching inspiration and support extended by her helped the team to scale to the projected heights. The team was led by Anubrata Saha a final year, B.Sc. (H) Physics student who the team described as the perfect leader who stays calm and refuses to give up even in the most difficult conditions. The competition was in relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space; the technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition conceivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as on Mars. KMC-CIC Lunabotics Team feels highly privileged to bring recognition to Delhi University and looks forward to continuing its engagement with NASA . It also aims to continue its winning streak at the NASA LMC 2014

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – an organization dedicated to space exploration, organizes various competitions to engage and retain students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). NASA’s Lunabotics Mining Competition is an attempt to serve this purpose. The challenge for students at university level is to design and build an excavator called Lunabot, which can mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar stimulant within 10 minutes. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the regolith, the weight and size limitations of the Lunabot, and the ability to telerobotically or autonomously control the Lunabot from a remote mission control center.

Around 50 teams from all over the world are contending for the coveted trophy, the ‘Joe Kosmo Award’. KMC Lunabotics Team of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi is ready to give a tough fight in this competition. Kirori Mal College will be representing India and it is the ‘only’ non-technical team participating in the competition, which is a matter of pride for India and DU.

The KMC Lunabotics team is a group of 29 highly dedicated students from the field of Physics and Engineering, who aspire to participate in the NASA’s fourth annual Lunabotics Mining Competition (LMC), to be held at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, in May 2013. In this highly acclaimed International Competition, participation is inarguably sought out by the most Elite Institutions in the world. The students of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi are being mentored under the guidance of the department staff advisor, Dr. Sumitra Mohanthy and the team is being led by the most eligible and experienced participant Anubrata Saha. Over the years, Kirori Mal College has also participated in prestigious global competitions like the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race where the team came out with flying colours by winning the “System Safety Award”. Furthermore, last year at the 3rd annual Lunabotics mining competition the team bagged the “Best Initial Design Award”. KMC was amongst the final teams, ranking 7th among 60 teams of various reputed universities from different parts of the world. It was a moment of pride when KMC was declared the best Asian team at NASA.

This time, the team has decided to go a step further and compete on a more challenging yet realistic scale. KMC Lunabiotics Team is going autonomous this year, which means that the bot will be able to maneuver through the lunarena itself .The LMC does not only provide assiduous students with a platform to display their expertise in the field of science and technology, but will also help enhance their creative prowess and aptitude.