UH-Hilo’s rover “Spock” shown during its very first field test at a PISCES martian simulation site on Hawaii Island. Spock is competing in the 7th Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition that begins on Monday, May 16th in Florida.

The 7th Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition starts today in Florida.

The competition will run May 16-20th at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The event is set up for college students to design and build a mining robot that can travel over a simulated Martian surface, excavate regolith and deposit as much of it as possible into a bin, all within 10 minutes.

Currently, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s robotics club is competing with the help of PISCES test logistics manager John Hamilton.

According to NASA, team members will control their bots remotely from a trailer where their only line of sight is via a computer screen, or completely autonomously, with their programming skills put to the test as their robot handles the mission on its own.

For more information visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasarmc.