coondoggie writes "NASA today significantly expanded its Centennial Challenges program to include $5 million worth of new competitions to develop robots, small satellites, and solar powered spacecraft. One of the new competitions is the Sample Return Robot Challenge. Its purpose is to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from wide and varied terrain without human control. This challenge has a prize purse of $1.5 million. The objectives are to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies."