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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Space Robotics Challenge Phase 2

Develop software that allows a team of virtual robots to operate fully autonomously for a long-term ISRU mission.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $1,000,000
Type of Challenge: Software and apps; Scientific
Submission Start: 08/12/2019 10:00 AM ET
Submission End: 12/20/2019 6:00 PM ET


Phase 1 of the Space Robotics Challenge focused on increasing the autonomous dexterous capabilities of humanoid robots (NASA's R5 robot) in a virtual Martian environment. The final Phase 1 winners were announced in June 2017.

Phase 2 of the Space Robotics Challenge is seeking to foster the creation or advancement of autonomous capabilities of lunar surface robots. Future ISRU missions may occur on surfaces such as Earth's moon, and will likely need to operate autonomously for long periods of time before, during, and after the presence of astronauts. Robots that can successfully perform ISRU tasks with little to no human intervention are valuable due to both the communication latencies and limited bandwidth between these destinations and Earth. Additionally, NASA has unique constraints for robotic systems in space compared to terrestrial applications, namely the radiation and thermal environments encountered, which affect the processing and sensing capabilities available for robotic systems. It is also recognized that many of the robotic capabilities needed for future exploration missions could have highly valuable functionality for terrestrial robotic applications, such as disaster relief, exploration of difficult and/or dangerous terrains, and industrial plant maintenance and servicing.

The focus of SRC Phase 2 is on the ability of virtual robotic systems to perform a long-term fully-autonomous ISRU mission for the Moon. This challenge will require competitors to develop software that allows a team of virtual robots (i.e., virtual robotic team) to operate fully autonomously for a specified length of time. The Competition Rounds will be carried out in a robotic simulation format, using Open Robotics Gazebo and Robot Operating System (ROS) platforms.


Qualification Round: The Top 25 scoring competitors in the Qualification Round that meet or exceed a given threshold score, will be awarded prizes from a purse of $375,000 USD.

Only the Top 25 scoring competitors will be invited to compete in the Competition Round.

Competitors will be able to win a maximum of $15,000 USD. Should a competitor not complete all required tasks, but still be in the Top 25 scoring competitors, a percentage of the $15,000 will be awarded based on the percentage of the trial that was completed.

Competition Round: The Top 10 scoring competitors in the Competition Round that meet or exceed a given threshold score, will be awarded prizes from a purse of $625,000 USD.

  • First Place:  $185,000 USD
  • Second Place:  $125,000 USD
  • Third Place:  $75,000 USD
  • Fourth Place:  $50,000 USD
  • Fifth Place:  $40,000 USD
  • Sixth through Tenth Place:  $30,000 USD each


For complete rules, visit

Judging Criteria

Qualification Round: The Qualification Round is comprised of three tasks. Each task will come with its own simulation environment and will be awarded points as described in the Official Challenge Rules (

    • Task 1 – Search the lunar surface within a predefined area for resources and report the location and type.
    • Task 2 – Collect a specific amount of resources.
    • Task 3 – Locate an object, report the location of that object and return to home base.

Competition Round: The Competition Round will consist of all Qualification Round tasks in a continuous time frame. Each competitor will be allowed three (3) runs, and the average score of those three (3) runs will be used for the final score.  Scoring will consist of points per unit of resource processed using the processing plant. 

A full description of the Challenge tasks, submission requirements and judging criteria can be found at

How To Enter

All interested teams must register on the official challenge site by the given deadline and meet the eligibility requirements as stated in the Official Rules in order to participate in the Challenge.

For questions about this challenge, please contact: