Estonian Team Has High Hopes in NASA Robot Contest
Ahti Heinla, one of the original developers of Skype, along with a Tallinn-based team of programmers and engineers, is assembling four robots that should be able to collect rock samples on Mars or the Moon.
They are taking part in a NASA contest called "NASA Centennial Challenge: Sample Return Robot," which wraps up at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Boston in June, Eesti Ekspress reported. The contest has a 1.5-million-dollar award, but Heinla's team doesn't qualify for the prize, which is reserved for American innovators.
“There's no time. Every minutes counts," said Heinla, whose team began working at the end of last year. The project is 80 percent ready, he said.
Another 14 teams are participating in the contest, mostly from the US and Canada. Heinla's team is the only team from Europe.
NASA held the contest for the first time last year, however no teams were able to meet all of the requirements and no winner was selected.