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(NECN: Kenneth Craig, Worcester, Mass.) - You might say one Worcester College student is shooting for the moon with a newly designed robot. NASA is recognizing the Worcester Polytechnic senior with a big prize this week, for a robot known as the "Moonraker 2.0". While you may not understand exactly what Paul Ventimiglia is saying, the Worcester Polytecnic Institute senior is obsessed with robots. And what began as a childhood passion, is now paying off. Paul and five others have built something that's earning them high praise from NASA, and a 500-thousand dollar check. The group took first place at this year's NASA lunar excavation challenge in California -- which called on entrepreneurs to design robots -- able to pick up moondust. The Moonraker 2.0 beat out 22 other teams in moving the greatest amount of regolith -- or in layman's terms simulated moondust. “The idea behind that is that NASA wants to go further into space- - in order to do that, you have to build moon bases in order to do that you have to excavate regolith.” The team worked night and day for weeks on end -- trying-out their computerized, battery powered moon-walker in a large sand-box test zone. From start to finish -- the project took only five months to build and cost about $15,000 a price Paul says is well worth it. Paul plans to split the half-million dollar prize with his five teammates -- pay back some financial supporters and start a robotics business.