Tue, Sep 13, 2011
Team Will Develop Lunar Robots In The Newly Established Moon
Express Robotics Lab For Innovation(MERLIN)
Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Moon Express announced Monday
that it has established the "Moon Express Robotics Lab for
Innovation" (MERLIN) and has hired a team of the nations' brightest
engineering students who became international superstars through
the FIRST Robotics Competition. MERLIN will develop robotic
technology supporting the company's lunar exploration missions
under the leadership of Marco Chacin, a graduate of the
International Space University who holds a PhD in Aerospace
Engineering and developed robotic solutions for the JAXA/ISAS
"Hayabusa" asteroid sample return missions.
The engineering team hired by Moon Express was mentored at the
NASA Ames Robotics Academy, where they also developed innovative
lunar micro-rover concepts. "MERLIN is formed around the best and
most accomplished young robotics engineers," said company
co-founder and CEO Bob Richards. "FIRST Robotics has inspired their
life passion; now they are working to be FIRST on the Moon."
The MERLIN launch team includes Marco Chacin (Lead), Matt
Carberry, Guy Chriqui, Kevin Huang, Cory McBride, Brandon Plaster,
EJ Sabathia Jr., Mike Stewart and Krystine Thoroughman.
MERLIN's initial focus will be on the development, demonstration
and flight design of a micro-rover capable of exploration of the
lunar surface that is compatible with the lunar lander system being
developed by Moon Express engineers in collaboration with
NASA. The micro-rovers will complement micro-hopper systems
also being developed by the company, providing a flexible and agile
lunar mobility system solution.
NASA is the largest sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Although more than 11,000 students in 600 teams from 29 countries
competed in this year's robotics challenge, Team 254, a NASA
Ames-mentored team for the past 14 years, won the 2011
championship. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology), a long-standing challenge founded by leading American
scientist and inventor Dean Kamen, is designed to inspire curiosity
and create interest in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics among high school students.
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