“NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers" Wins Telly Awards

May 15, 2013

“NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers” Wins Telly Awards

“NASA 360: Robots, Rocks and Rovers” has won two 34th Annual Telly Awards. The 30-minute television episode gives audiences an up-close look at NASA’s 2012 Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge, which was held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass. last summer.

During the 2012 competition, teams were challenged to build autonomous robots that could identify, collect and return samples and compete for a potential $1.5 million prize purse. The episode highlights how the NASA’s Centennial Challenges program promotes technical innovation and taps the nation’s ingenuity to make revolutionary advances in technology of value to NASA and the nation.

Guests on the program include Mason Peck, NASA chief technologist; Chris Ferguson, astronaut and commander of the final space shuttle mission; leading robotics experts from WPI; and the talented teams that traveled to WPI to compete in the Sample Return Robot Challenge.

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. “To be selected from a field of nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries illustrates the NASA 360 team’s creativity, skill, and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.” The episode was honored with awards in both the “Government” and the “Informational” categories.

Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenge Manager noted, “’NASA 360: Robots Rocks & Rovers,’ was downloaded from NASA’s website more than three-quarters of a million times within the first six months of the program’s release. We look forward to building on the vast interest of this award-winning episode and sharing the excitement of the next chapter in the story as ‘NASA 360’ and the Sample Robotic Return Challenge return to WPI’s campus June 4-8, 2013.”

NASA uses prize competitions to establish important technical challenges without having to specify the approach that is most likely to succeed, while only paying for successful results. These competitions increase the number and diversity of individuals, organizations and teams that are addressing a particular problem or challenge of national or international significance. These challenges stimulate private sector investment many times greater than the cash value of the prize.

NASA 360 is produced by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va., in collaboration with NASA. Programs from the series have been downloaded nearly 14 million times from www.nasa.gov/nasa360The series also enjoys a following of nearly 70,000 fans through Facebook and Twitter and is regularly broadcast on NASA Television as well as 400 public broadcasting, cable and commercial stations. The show also is available on select airlines and cruise ships and via iTunes, Hulu and YouTube.

For additional information about the Sample Robot Return Challenge, visit:



To learn more about “NASA 360: Robots, Rocks & Rovers” or download the episode, visit:


More about the 34TH Annual Telly awards can be found at:


More about the National Institute of Aerospace is at:


Media Contacts:

Timothy J. Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

Janet L. Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.