The Lunar Knights Mining Club at the University of Central Florida will compete in NASA’s national Robotic Mining Competition this month at the Kennedy Space Center.

Fifty student teams across the United States entered in a challenge robotic excavation, intended to help in the exploration of Mars with the collection of outside ideas.


“Our team is well prepared this year,” Adrienne Dove, Lunar Knights faculty adviser and an assistant professor of physics, told UCF.

“The robot is more robust than previous years. It’s a complicated system the team has gotten to work. It has to work mechanically, but it also has to run automatically. There’s a lot of parts that have come together.”

As a registered student organization, the Lunar Knights team received funding from the UCF Student Government Association to compete. The team raised $5,000 and received donated parts and equipment from local companies to create the robot, UCF officials said.

“We started from scratch, which makes it more challenging and exciting,” said the president of Lunar Knights Esther Amram, Spring 2017 graduate with a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering.

“We’re an interdisciplinary team made up of so many majors. We have team members who study marketing, psychology, criminal justice and of course all the engineering disciplines. It’s been a great learning experience.”

The competition takes place from May 22-62 at the Kennedy Space Center and will feature scholarship money and trophies for the top-finishing teams.

UCF will enter for their second time. The Lunar Knights bring a robot that will center on dust-mitigation, where the soil is retained in buckets as mining takes place.