ACME Robotics not participating in the Regolith Excavation Challenge

Released on: June 2, 2008, 10:14 am

Press Release Author: Don C. Dhabolt/ACME Robotics

Industry: Aerospace

Press Release Summary: A combination of recent events forced ACME Robotics to
withdraw their intent to enter the Regolith Excavation Challenge to be held in
August, 2008.

Press Release Body: "Our decision was based on two key factors" states Don C.
Dhabolt, Team Leader for ACME Robotics, "weather and rules." "First, a large amount
of snow through the winter and an unseasonable amount of rain this spring caused
flooding all over town" says Don, referring to the April 25th flood of the ACME
Robotics basement workshop. Everything was quickly cleaned up but additional rain
caused a second, and then a third flood before the problem could be properly
addressed. Don says it was the first time in over ten years flooding had occurred.
"I lost some equipment in the first flood, but after the third flood and all the
time lost, it forced me to re-evaluate my position with the Regolith Excavation
Challenge as a whole," he said.
The second and most important factor has to do with the Challenge itself,
particularly the rules. "I've been following the Regolith Challenge since September
2006, almost from the beginning" Don says. "The first challenge was nothing like
the CSA/CSEWI or NASA envisioned so they (CSA/CSEWI) made several changes to the
rules, changes I don't agree with. After careful contemplation - I feel the rules
have been stacked against the participants. For example, it took over seven months
just to get a vague description of the ramp surface material - that type of delay is
simply not right. CSA/CSEWI states the competition is intended to act as a
simulation that encompasses scenarios in-situ, yet in a true in-situ scenario, many
facts would be known well before the first excavation attempt - the CSA/CSEWI has
failed to reveal these facts" states Don. He says many other factors influenced the
decision, including several portions of the rules (found on the CSEWI website). "I
think CSA/CSEWI is only looking out for CSA/CSEWI, not the challenge participants"
states Don.
"I would like to take this opportunity and express my wish of success to all the
participating teams," Don says. "I've made some good friends along the way and I'll
be cheering extra for one of them! I also hope the event is successful for
CSA/CSEWI - it's too bad the challenge has become skewed away from the
ACME Robotics originally announced their intent to enter the 2008 Regolith
Excavation Challenge on December 11, 2007. The Competition is one of NASA's
Centennial challenges with a total purse of $750,000. Simply stated, $500,000 will
be awarded to the team robot that can dig the most (simulated) moon dirt - or
regolith - and shovel it into a container during a 30 minute time limit.
The California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSEWI) will administer the
2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge, which is also Co-Hosted by the California Space
Authority (CSA).
Don C. Dhabolt is the Team Leader of ACME Robotics, and the Director of Operations
for IT RealityString LLC, a small Information Technology Consulting firm located in
Eldora, Iowa and La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Don C. Dhabolt
ACME Robotics Division
IT RealityString LLC
P.O. Box 9
Eldora, Iowa
800.779.0053, voice
866.430.9235, fax
information [at]

Web Site:

Contact Details: Contact:
Don C. Dhabolt
ACME Robotics Division
IT RealityString LLC
P.O. Box 9
Eldora, Iowa
800.779.0053, voice
866.430.9235, fax
information [at]

  • Printer Friendly Format
  • Back to previous page...
  • Back to home page...
  • Submit your press releases...