A Nasa competition is encouraging university students and private companies to find ways to mine the moon.

The 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge will be held at Nasa Ames Research Park in California, US, from 16-18 October.

The team that can come up with a technology to excavate the most amount of lunar regolith from a specified quantity within a given time period will win the competition.

Regolith is a layer of loose material such as soil, dust and broken rock that covers solid rock.