Return of the Rovers Featured on New NASA 360 TV Program

Return of the Rovers Featured on New NASA 360 TV Program

News release


National Institute of Aerospace (NIA)

100 Exploration Way

Hampton, VA 23666


September 9, 2013

Harla Sherwood

National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.



NIA RELEASE: 2013-27


HAMPTON, Va. – Fans around the world will have a chance to see the premiere of the latest episode of “NASA 360” when it debuts on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013.

“NASA 360: Return of the Rovers” will premiere on as well as the NASA TV public channel, which is available online at and across continental North America, Alaska and Hawaii through cable carriers and on AMC-18C.  The series is also broadcast on more than 400 public broadcasting, cable and commercial stations across the country, as well as iTunes, Hulu and YouTube.

“NASA 360: Return of the Rovers” will take viewers to the 2013 Centennial Challenges Sample Return Robot Challenge, held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass. this past June 5-7. During the challenge, teams were challenged to build autonomous robots that could identify, collect and return samples and compete for a potential $1.5 million prize purse.

“NASA needs autonomous robotic capability for future planetary exploration, and this new episode of ‘NASA 360’ gives our viewers an up-close look at how NASA uses prize competitions to push technology forward in a cost-effective yet exciting way,” said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager for NASA, who provides insight into the robot rover competition during the show.

Other program guests include Dr. Larry Cooper, Centennial Challenges program executive; leading robotics experts from WPI and industry; and the talented teams that traveled to WPI to compete. The program also features NASA 360 hosts Molly McKinney and Caleb Kinchlow.

“We were thrilled to engage with SRR teams for this ‘NASA 360’ program.  You will see some familiar and new competitor faces as the teams compete for the prize,” said Harla Sherwood, NASA 360’s principal investigator and communications director for NIA. “Our ‘NASA 360’ team interacts daily with an audience of more than 100,000 devoted followers through Facebook and Twitter, and they are especially enthusiastic about the opportunity to share the premiere of ’NASA 360:  Return of the Rovers.’ ”

NASA 360 is an Emmy award-winning series based at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and is produced for NASA by the National Institute of Aerospace. The Centennial Challenges program is part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions.

For more information on the NASA Centennial Challenges program, visit:

More about NASA 360, useful links and photos related to the new episode can be found at:

For more about the National Institute of Aerospace, see:


Information about NASA and agency programs, is online at:




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100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666