Engineering Students Seek a Second Win in NASA Competition

For the second year, a Thayer School of Engineering team is a finalist in the contest.

Read the full story by Julie Bonette, published by Dartmouth Engineering.

For the second year in a row, a team of Dartmouth engineering students are finalists in NASA's Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. For this year's competition, NASA sought innovative ideas that would support exploration of the dark side of the moon.

The team's idea resulted in "SHREWs: Strategic Highly-compliant Roving Explorers of other Worlds." It focuses on mobility achieved through a class of robots able to latch on to each other to minimize the chance of getting stuck or having to be rescued. The team took inspiration from shrews, which latch on to each other's tails, forming a train or caravan, in order to move quickly and in an orderly fashion.

"Lunar and planetary exploration is the next frontier, so it's pretty exciting," says the team's faculty adviser, Laura Ray, a professor of engineering and senior associate dean of faculty development at Thayer School of Engineering. "I think this is almost a once-in-a-career opportunity, but here we are again, so I'm pretty proud of being finalists two years in a row.