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 (August 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 www.moonbots.org.

ABOUT THE X PRIZE FOUNDATION

Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by 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 to leverage 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 (Ocean and Deep Space). Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPG energy equivalent (MPGe); and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE CHALLENGE for advanced rocket development. 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 THE GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters (1/3 of a mile) and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn a $5 million Prize. Teams are also eligible to win a $1 million award for stimulating diversity in the field of space exploration and as much as $4 million in bonus prizes for accomplishing additional technical tasks such as moving ten times as far, surviving the frigid lunar night, or visiting the site of a previous lunar mission. To date, more than 20 teams from a dozen countries around the world have registered to compete for the prize. The Google Lunar X PRIZE is available to be claimed until the end of the year 2015.

ABOUT THE LEGO GROUP

The LEGO Group 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 5,600 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. For more information, please visit www.lego.com.

ABOUT LEGO MINDSTORMS

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, and 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. For more information, please visit mindstorms.lego.com.

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