Not to be confused with NASA's original RASC-AL Aerospace Concepts competition, which is based upon conceptual designs on themes related to space exploration, RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops (aka, Robo-Ops) is a design competition in which participants are required to physically build and test prototype planetary rovers at the NASA Johnson Space Center's Rock Yard. You may be interested in viewing a brief, 45-second promotional video about Robo-Ops.
Student teams and their faculty advisors are invited to submit an online Notice of Intent (NOI) by September 23, 2015 and submit project plans of their rover concepts by October 3, 2015.
Based on a review of the Project Plans by the Robo-Ops Steering Committee, up to eight (8) qualifying teams will be selected to receive a $10,000 award to facilitate full participation in Robo-Ops, including expenses for rover development, materials, testing equipment, hardware and software.
At the 2016 Robo-Ops Competition in Houston, the rovers will compete on a simulated planetary environment under the supervision of NASA judges. The remaining team members will stay behind at the local university to tele-operate the rover remotely and conduct other "mission control" tasks. Replicating how robots and astronauts will work together in the near future on human space exploration missions, the prototype rovers will be tele-operated by the teams' mission control centers via real-time video feed from the rovers' on-board cameras. During the competition, the rovers must negotiate a series of obstacles while accomplishing relevant tasks within the given time.
Up to $12,000 in prize money is available to the winning teams!