The X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group Announce Global Student Team Winners of MoonBots 2.0 Challenge
Competition engages students in space exploration by challenging them to simulate Google Lunar X PRIZE missions with LEGO robots
PLAYA VISTA, CA (Aug. 31, 2011) – The X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group announced today winners of the MoonBots 2.0: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge. The competition challenges teams of students ages 9 to 17 to design, program and build robots that simulate lunar missions mirroring the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE international competition for privately funded teams to build a rover to land on and explore the Moon’s surface.
The Grand Prize winner, Team LegoAces (Granville, OH), earned a VIP trip to LEGOLAND Florida® in October. Team Just Ducky (Woodbury, MN) was awarded second place and third place went to Team Lunar Lords (Bellevue, WA). All three teams will receive free team registration for the 2012 FIRST® robotics season.
“The X PRIZE Foundation is proud of the accomplishments by all student participants and how they brought their science and technology insights to their communities,” says Chanda Gonzales, Google Lunar X PRIZE Education Manager. “We are thrilled to see high levels of interest among younger audiences in MoonBots and Google Lunar X PRIZE. This is a terrific opportunity for them to work on projects that could turn into future careers in space exploration.”
The student competition, started in May, attracted 75 teams from around the world to register and submit fun, scientific video clips about space exploration. Each team also wrote a proposal explaining why their robot should be funded to go to the moon, similar to proposals by actual Google Lunar X PRIZE teams. The 20 team finalists received free LEGO components to construct a large Moonscape that served as the competition’s “playing field.” Finalists designed their robot using CAD software and programmed their robot to compete in a live lunar mission. All finalists completed a STEM community outreach project to help support, mentor and get kids excited about MoonBots 2.0 Challenge. The 20 finalists and their websites are:
2011 LEGO Odyssey (Santa Clara, CA) https://sites.google.com/site/team2011legoodyssey/
Anthem-a-Tronics (Anthem, AZ) http://www.anthem-a-tronics.com/moonbots.html
DragonBots (Santiago, Chile) http://www.dragonbots.org/
Iron Reign (Dallas, TX) http://www.ironreignrobotics.com/moonbots
LegoAces (Granville, OH) http://www.legoaces.org/MoonBots/Home.html
Lehi Moonstormers (Lehi, UT) http://moonstormers.blogspot.com/
Lunar LegoBots (Oak Ridge, TN) http://www.discoveret.org/ingrid/legobots/
Lunar Lords (Bellevue, WA) http://lunarlords.wordpress.com/
Lunar Scouts (Chesapeake, VA) http://lunarscouts.webs.com/
Molokai Mahina 2.0 (Kaunakakai, HI) http://molokaimahina.yolasite.com/
Moonwalk (Morris Plains, NJ) https://sites.google.com/site/walkthemoonwalk/home
New Hartford RoboSpartans (New Hartford/Utica, NY) https://sites.google.com/site/robospartansmoonbots2011/
Pi in the Sky (McLean, VA) http://moonbots.mcleanrobotics.org/
Q.E.D. (Greensboro, NC) http://www.teamqed.tk/
Raider Robotix (North Brunswick, NJ) http://moonbots.raiderrobotix.org/Moonbots/index.html
Say Watt? (East Brunswick, NJ) http://say-watt.org/wp2/moonbots
Team Just Ducky (Woodbury, MN) http://justducky.jimdo.com/
Techno Inventors (Malaysia) http://technoinventors.yolasite.com/
The Pink Team (Rockledge, FL) http://thepinkteam.tumblr.com/
X-Treme Team (Indio, CA) https://sites.google.com/a/smarteducation.us/x-treme/home
The competition also included an education outreach component where teams completed a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) project in their community through robotics fair participation, space exploration literacy projects and technical training support mentorships. Many MoonBots teams partnered with teams vying for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, learning from top innovators in the field.
“It’s fantastic to see what efforts and energy the 20 finalist teams put into their outreach activities as part of the MoonBots 2.0 competition,” adds Steven Canvin, LEGO MINDSTORMS Community Manager. “The teams were assigned to make public presentations explaining why science, technology, engineering and math are important to lunar exploration and the solutions that need to be made around it. They’ve been amazing in connecting with organizations and companies working with space exploration, presenting in their communities and reaching broader groups through mass media. MoonBots 2.0 has been successful in attracting young budding scientists who have grown with the challenge, learned a lot in the process, built ingenious LEGO MINDSTORMS robots (some for the first time), and taught others about their research. The future for space exploration and associated sciences looks very promising.”
In addition to X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group, competition partners include WIRED magazine and FIRST® robotics. To learn more about MoonBots 2.0 Challenge winners, visit http://www.moonbots.org.
ABOUT X PRIZE FOUNDATION
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading non-profit organization solving the world’s greatest challenges through creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself. The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines and socio-economic sectors to endow their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity. The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in four Prize Groups: Education & Global Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration. Past prizes include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for sending the world’s first private vehicle into space and back; and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG or energy equivalent (MPGe). Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE, and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.
ABOUT GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE
The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE will be awarded to the first privately funded teams to build robots that successfully land on the lunar surface, explore the Moon by moving at least 500 meters (~1/3 of a mile), and return high definition video and imagery. The competition's grand prize is worth $20 million. To provide an extra incentive for teams to work quickly, the grand prize value will change to $15 million whenever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface, currently projected to occur in 2013. Additionally, a second place prize of $5 million will be available for the second team to complete the competition objectives. A total of $4 million in bonus prizes are available for achieving other specific mission objectives, including operation at night; traveling more than 5km over the lunar surface; detection of water; and precision landing near an Apollo site or other lunar sites of interest (such as landing/crash sites of man-made space hardware). Lastly, a $1 million award will go to the team that demonstrates the greatest attempts to promote diversity in the field of space exploration. For more information, go to www.googlelunarxprize.org.
ABOUT LEGO GROUP
The LEGO Group (www.lego.com) is a privately held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark. It was founded in 1932, and today, the group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials for children, employing approximately 9,500 people globally. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities. LEGO products can be purchased in more than 130 countries.
In 1998, The LEGO Group spearheaded the consumer robotics category the company with the launch of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics Invention System that introduced children to the world of robotics, offering the ability to create their own intelligent, interactive, autonomous LEGO robots. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics toolkits allow children of all ages to design, build, and program their own robots using LEGO building elements, customized hardware, and an easy-to-use icon-based graphical programming language.