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Engineering 360°

Up to the challenge

 Mountaineer Ice Drilling Automated System – or MIDAS III

For the third straight year, a team from WVU will compete in the Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge, a special edition competition under NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage brand of competitions. 

Ten university teams were selected for the competition, which challenges finalists to design and build hardware that can identify, map and drill through a variety of subsurface layers, then extract water from an ice block in a simulated off-world test bed. The challenge seeks to advance critical capabilities needed on the surface of the Moon and Mars. 

Looking to build upon its success in the first two challenges, WVU’s Mountaineer Ice Drilling Automated System – or MIDAS III – hopes to again find itself in the winner’s circle. MIDAS I finished first in 2017 and MIDAS II finished second in 2018. 

Joining WVU in the competition are teams from Carnegie Mellon, Colorado School of Mines, MIT, Northeastern University, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Houston, University of Tennessee Knoxville and Virginia Tech. Northeastern is the defending champion.