The purpose of the competition is to design, build and fund an autonomous mining robot. The competition encourages designs which would function in remote, inhospitable, or dangerous areas on earth and could also be viable to support space exploration and mining on other worlds. In addition to building the robot, teams are also expected to produce a technical report detailing all aspects of development, conduct community outreach during the year, and present the technical paper at the competition. The robot is controlled remotely from a separate location via a wireless network.
The winner of the competition is determined based on a point structure. Points are awarded in the competition based on a number of parameters. The first is to mine as much lunar regolith in ten minutes as possible, with a 10 kg minimum. Lunar regolith is a loosely consolidated material with a density ranging from 0.75 to 1.5 g/cm3. The material must be transported and then placed in a designated storage reservoir approximately 0.5 meters in height and 1.65m wide. The robot is limited in both dimensions and mass, with constraints of 1.5 m length x 0.75 m width x 0.75 m height and a mass no greater than 80kg.
Other points are awarded based on minimizing robot weight, limiting data used for control and communication with the robot, minimizing dust production and incorporating design. Fully autonomous functioning is heavily rewarded in the scoring rubric.