Entered a NASA contest, nervous for some reason.

This is a discussion on Entered a NASA contest, nervous for some reason. within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I don't get nervous much. Former Medic, nerves of steel. Yet I can't help but feel queasy. My buddy and I built a completely autonomous ...

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Thread: Entered a NASA contest, nervous for some reason.

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Entered a NASA contest, nervous for some reason.

    I don't get nervous much. Former Medic, nerves of steel. Yet I can't help but feel queasy. My buddy and I built a completely autonomous robot that will dig (hopefully) simulated moon dirt this weekend for NASA. I haven't been this nervous since my Private Pilot Checkride.

    It's a head to head competition and whomevers machine digs the most dirt in 30 minutes without any human intervention at all wins $125,000 (as long as you also exceed the minimum). Did I mention that we are also limited to 88lbs total weight and 5 volts at 6 amps, or 30watts (sorry for the technobabble, even lower power light bulbs use twice this, or 60 watts). That proved to be quite a challenge.

    It also didn't help that we waited to the last minute to start working on it in earnest. We essentially threw it together in a couple weeks. It works, but I wish we had more time (our fault) for more tweaking and testing. I also wish we had known more about the "moon dirt" that we'll be digging for the competition. Well, it's been fun and we learned a lot and picked up new skills along the way. I think we have a shot here, but if we lose it will likely be to a college engineering team with a bunch of people, tools and resources. We just had the 2 of us and some basic tools, no big shops. I just realized that I'm babbling now, sorry about that.
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this mini documentary!
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    Cupcake - 100 pound loser, adventurer, Ironman Triathlete.

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    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Wow. The fact that you even were able to get an entry together is amazing.

    Fron what I've seen of college engineering types they tend to over think the problem and add too many widgets.

    Good luck.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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    That sounds so cool!

    When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut and I find all things out-side our atmosphere to be fascinating, not to mention the equipment that gets to go up there.

    If you win are they going to use your prototype or design (or whatever) for the next "moon rover"?

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    Excellent.....good luck!!
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
    Wow. The fact that you even were able to get an entry together is amazing.

    Fron what I've seen of college engineering types they tend to over think the problem and add too many widgets.

    Good luck.
    That is exactly what we are hoping for. Unreliability due to excessive widgets. Our design is relatively simple, hopefully not too simple. I wanted to add a little more "smartness," but my teammate didn't. This caused a bit of fighting early on, which caused us to wait so long to really get started. I finally decided that the prize money wasn't worth the friendship, so when we came back to work, we did things his way. We both wanted simple, but he wanted REALLY simple.


    If you win are they going to use your prototype or design (or whatever) for the next "moon rover"?
    Not sure here. Probably not exactly. I think the whole puprose of the contest was to get innovative ideas to build off of. Maybe they'll offer me a job? I'd like to change my signature to: Lbrombach, NASA Design Engineer. Yeah, right.
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this mini documentary!
    Then check out my blog! www.BodyByMcDonalds.com

    Cupcake - 100 pound loser, adventurer, Ironman Triathlete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LBrombach View Post
    I'd like to change my signature to: Lbrombach, NASA Design Engineer. Yeah, right.
    That would be very neat.. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    That sounds so cool!

    When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut and I find all things out-side our atmosphere to be fascinating, not to mention the equipment that gets to go up there.
    Maybe you should get a job down here at Goddard, what goes up doesn't always have to come back down!

    LBrombach, Good luck! Where is the contest being held?
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rstickle View Post

    LBrombach, Good luck! Where is the contest being held?
    Contest being held in San-something-or-another, CA. I hope our machine survives the UPS treatment, which cost us nearly $500, btw.
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this mini documentary!
    Then check out my blog! www.BodyByMcDonalds.com

    Cupcake - 100 pound loser, adventurer, Ironman Triathlete.

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    Member Array wendywc's Avatar
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    Wow, congrats to you and your buddy for going so far. Good luck the rest of the way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LBrombach View Post
    Contest being held in San-something-or-another, CA.
    Having spent way to much time out there launching things, I have to say, that description REALLY narrows it down! Good luck!
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Senior Member Array TonyW's Avatar
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    Cool. Let us know how it turns out.
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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    Good luck! In engineering, simplicity and "elegance" is often the key to what makes the better design.

    FYI, If anyone is serious about wanting to be a spaceship designer, NASA probably isn't the way to go. They have lots of cool projects, but most of them are farming out the actual design work (aka, the cool stuff) to private companies. The most prominent example being the Orion spacecraft, which is being designed by Lockheed Martin (and me ).

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