MoonBots: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge

I have been hinting for a couple of months that we were going to launch a STEM education challenge and I am finally happy to say that it is here. MoonBots: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge was launched last week at the 2010 FIRST Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. With great enthusiasm, youth and adults stormed to our education booth to see what it was all about. Representatives from LEGO, National Instruments and the X PRIZE Foundation showcased the hands-on exhibit and answered questions about the Challenge Rules, the Google Lunar X PRIZE, the MINDSTORMS Robot and accompanying NXT software. FIRST LEGO League youth and the general public got the opportunity to see firsthand the MoonBots Lunar Landscape LEGO display and got to rove around the lunar surface with many robots.

Here are a few pictures:

For those of you who did not get to personally attend the FIRST Championship and see MoonBots in action, here is a summary of the Challenge:

X PRIZE Foundation, LEGO, Google, National Instruments and WIRED Magazine have partnered with each other to develop a STEM education challenge for youth.

MoonBots Challenge Phase

Phase I: April 15, 2010- May 15, 2010
Using free software, youth-adult teams will create a design for a robot they think could explore a LEGO lunar surface and mirror the mission requirements of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Each team must also create an original video essay that discusses their thoughts about lunar exploration, including their expectations for the most important discovery to be made by future missions conducted by Google Lunar X PRIZE teams and government lunar missions. Twenty teams will be selected to compete in the next phase of the Challenge—each of those twenty teams will receive a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 kit, enough LEGO bricks to build their replica lunar surface, and two-year subscriptions to WIRED Magazine for each team member!

Phase II: June 21, 2010- August 14, 2010
The twenty finalists selected at the end of Phase I will put their designs to the test, using the provided LEGO components to make their digital designs become reality. Teams will be challenged to build a lunar surface out of LEGO materials and complete simulated mission tasks such as discovering Water Ice, discovering Helium 3 , surviving the lunar night and taking pictures of heritage artifacts on the Moon. At the contest’s exciting conclusion, each team will have one shot to meet the MoonBots Challenge during a timed webcast monitored by our judges. A panel of celebrity and expert judges will select our three overall winners, each of whom will receive exciting prizes.

1st Place Prize- Trip for the team to visit LEGO Headquarters in Denmark and a 2011 FIRST FRC/FTC Registration Fees + Kits

2nd Place- iPOD Touch to each team member and a 2011 FIRST FRC/FTC Registration Fees + Kits

3rd Place- 2011 FIRST FRC/FTC Registration Fees + Kits

For additional information about the Challenge and registration materials, please visit the MoonBots website at

We will keep you updated about the MoonBots Challenge as well as showcase registered teams here on The Launch Pad.

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