16 May 2011, Dhaka. A team from the School of Engineering and Computer Science of BRAC University has made history for Bangladesh by participating in a NASA Robotic Competition for the first time.
After three rounds of selection, the team, comprising four students and a professor, has been accepted to compete at the NASA’s Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition (LMC) 2011. The BRAC University team have made the nation's first lunar robot which will compete in the NASA competition.
Chairperson of BRAC Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and Vice-chancellor of BRAC University Prof. Ainun Nishat with BRAC University Students
The team members are Dr. Md. Khalilur Rhaman (Faculty Advisor), assistant professor of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Shiblee Imtiaz Hasan (Team Leader), Mohammad Jonayet Hossain, Mahmudul Hasan Oyon and Kazi Mohammad Razin Anik. The team is giving the final touches to BRACU Chondrobot, a lunar excavation robot made of recycled car parts, tin, alloy and rubber. The remote-controlled robot, weighing 75kg, is designed to travel on rough lunar surface, collect soil samples and carry them to lunar shuttles for examination.
The prestigious event will take place at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA, the birthplace of NASA`s human space flights, on May 23-28. LMC is a university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from universities that may result in clever ideas and solutions, which could be applied, to an actual lunar excavation device or payload.
Top 46 teams from all around the world are participating in the LMC, including Harvard University, Virginia Tech, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and McGill University.
Founder and Chairperson of BRAC Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG, and Vice-chancellor of BRAC University Prof. Ainun Nishat inaugurated the BRAC University “ChondroBot” on May 15 at BRAC University indoor games room. Directors of the university as well as Chairpersons of different departments were present among the guests.
It all started in October, 2010, when NASA approved BRAC University’s entry, designed by Shiblee Imtiaz Hasan, a BRAC University Computer Science & Engineering student. The team then analysed past success and failures of others and was able to design a simple, yet efficient tele-robotic system for lunar excavation.