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West Virginia University's Cataglyphis Robot Wins NASA Robotics Mission

Sep 12, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

A team of 10 students from West Virginia University (WVU) managed to snag the $750,000 prize from NASA's Robotic Mission. Thanks to their robot, Cataglyphis, the students won 11 points in the Level 2 competition. All this is part of NASA's Centennial Challenges, specifically the Sample Robot Return Challenge.

According to NASA, for the final round of the competition, teams had only two hours to locate at least 10 samples which varied in shape, size, difficulty and location. In the end, it was the students of WVU that garnered the points needed to win the challenge.

"West Virginia University has shown incredible ingenuity, creativity and team spirit throughout every stage of this challenge. They were committed to advancing this technology, and we are proud to say that they have done it. Every team that put a robot on the competition field brought us to this moment. We congratulate West Virginia University, and commend all of the teams for their efforts," stated Dennis Andrucyk, the deputy associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate.

The students from WVU Mountaineers successfully beat six teams during the finals, which was held from Sept. 4 to 6 at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The prize money of $750,000 is said to be the largest amount the space agency has given in the five-year history of the Centennial Challenges.

"It's a huge win, a huge event and it will bring a lot of prestige to the college, the university and the students involved in the project," stated Mary Dillon, the director of marketing and communication at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in a report by the Herald Standard.

Overall, the students from WVU beat 50 other teams and has won a total of $855,000 for having competed in NASA's Centennial Challenge for three years. In 2014, the team won $5,000 for their Level 1 win and $100,000 for their Level 2 win in 2015.

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