You are now in the main content area

Laurentian Lunars win international engineering competition

Mechanical Engineering Spring 2022 graduates defeat students from across the globe at “Over the Dusty Moon Challenge.”

(June 9, 2022) - June 3rd 2022 officially marks a day of celebration for engineers at Laurentian University.

A team of eight Mechanical Engineering and mechatronics Spring 2022 graduates, called the “Laurentian Lunars”, claimed victory in the inaugural Over the Dusty Moon Challenge, hosted by the Colorado School of Mines. The competition found six finalist teams from the United States, Germany, Poland, Australia, and of course, Canada (the Lunars), immerse themselves in the challenge of producing a prototype that could effectively transport regolith (or in other words sand or fine aggregate) in outer space. 

Participants from Laurentian included Ethan Murphy, Adam Farrow, Alexander MacKenzie, Christian (Quade) Howald, Goran Hinic, Kevan Sullivan, Kyle Wulle and Reid Ludgate. All made the difficult decision to not attend their in-person convocation ceremony on campus last week, to instead compete on the international stage. Dr. Markus Timusk and Greg Lakanen were faculty supervisors who supported the development of this project that began for these recent graduates, approximately nine months ago. 

“The challenge was a part of our capstone design project - a requirement for Mechanical Engineering students,” said competitor Ethan Murphy. “It’s been an incredible opportunity. We’ve all been really grateful for this experience and we also got a lot of enjoyment out of doing it.”

Added competitor Adam Farrow: “Meeting other engineering students and graduates from all around the world was really amazing. Connecting and sharing ideas was such a learning experience, and time was well spent speaking with the judges, including representatives from NASA, Lockheed Martin Space, and ICON.” 

“It’s amazing what this team of graduates have accomplished,” said Dr. Markus Timusk, Mechanical Engineering professor at Laurentian. “This challenge found the Lunars taking technology used for terrestrial mining and bringing it to the context of outer space. We are incredibly proud of our students' outstanding performance in this prestigious international engineering competition.” 

“It’s no secret that Sudbury’s a mining hub, and I think that the focus [that] Laurentian puts on their engineering programs, specifically in mining, sets them apart from other institutions….Laurentian has a pretty well established history of succeeding in competitions like this, and that’s not only because of where we’re from, but also because of the support that our professors are able to provide,” said Murphy. Added Farrow: “Our entire four years [of study] at Laurentian, knowledge-wise and academically, our professors have really helped us find success.” 

For faculty at Laurentian, it was unanimously attributed that it was the dedication and tireless efforts of the Lunars that brought them home this victory. 

Notably, the Lunars expressed their gratitude for the many supporters who helped make participating in this competition a reality. Financial sponsors included ITW Devcon, Studio Terra, Keith Pennells, CA, and Technica Mining. Other donors included Duplicators, Part Source Sudbury, and Lalonde Property Management. Industry advisors who positively contributed to the Lunars included Douglas Morrison, President and CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Mining (CEMI), and world class space expert, Dale Boucher. 

Mario Grossi, President and CEO of Technica Mining, expressed his enthusiasm for this competition win: “Technica Mining was honored to support the Laurentian Lunars at the Over the Dusty Moon Challenge. This team of young engineers should be very proud of their achievements that demonstrate exceptional innovation at an international level. It is no surprise that Laurentian has helped shape such brilliant engineering students with its rich and accomplished School of Engineering pedigree. I encourage every business who has benefited from Laurentian’s Engineering and Computer Science programs to re-invest into our future and support Laurentian.” 

Engineering at Laurentian is built on a solid reputation of grit, innovation and strong competitive edge. This is just the latest entry in a long list of achievements:

  • 2021 Canadian Mining Games – 2nd Place
  • 2017 Intercollegiate Mines Emergency Response Development (MERD) competition in Colorado
  • 2016 Ontario Engineering Competition – Senior Design Category and Consulting Category (winners)
  • 2015 Canadian Engineering Competition – Junior and Senior Design Category (winners)
  • 2015 Ontario Engineering Competition – Junior Design Category (winners)
  • 2014 Ontario Engineering Competition – Senior Design Category (winners)
  • 2013 Baja Competition
  • Canadian Mining Games – 2012 / 2009 / 2005 / 2004 / 2002 / 2000 / 1999 / 1994 (winners)
  • 2012 NASA Robotic Mining Competition
  • 2011 NASA Robotic Mining Competition (winners)
  • 2010 Canadian Engineering Competition – Senior Design Category (winners)
  • 2010 Ontario Engineering Competition – Senior Design Category (winners

When it comes to the culmination of the Over the Dusty Moon challenge, a few representatives from Laurentian remain in Colorado. These representatives will present their “out of this world” design at the Space Resources Roundtable, on Thursday, June 9th, 2022.