The following companies are working together to promote the MoonBots: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge. These companies have joined forces to help promote and host a competition that will stimulate learning of robotics and team building while exciting students and their families about the new Moon race.
“The Google Lunar X PRIZE is helping to open a new era of lunar exploration that will involve much broader participation than the first Moon race,” said William Pomerantz, Senior Director for Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation. “We want students and their parents to understand that they can tackle difficult engineering problems and generate important new ideas regardless of their age or their background—and that they can have fun doing so. This contest is quite accessible for even very young children, but still demands creativity, intelligence, and hard work. It’s a perfect starting point for the next generation of rocket scientists!”
The X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world’s attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation, with the support of its partner, BT Global Services, is creating prizes in Space and Ocean Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy and Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as a leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.
"Teams of children and adults around the world will be challenged to use their imagination and problem-solving skills to develop a robot for a complex mission, and we hope that their work will encourage and inspire others to explore their creativity. The mission of the LEGO Group is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and we hope that the MoonBots Challenge can be part of fulfilling that mission,” said Steven Canvin, Marketing Manager for LEGO MINDSTORMS.
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.
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.
"We hope competitions like the Google Lunar X PRIZE will revolutionize space exploration, and we want everyone to be as excited about space as we are," said Tiffany Montague, Technical Program Manager of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. "The participants in the MoonBots competition may become the future technologists and engineers that ultimately help us return the Moon - we're looking forward to seeing their work."
Google Lunar X Prize
The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit www.googlelunarxprize.org.
"Travel to the Moon holds a unique place in childrens' imaginations, and using LEGOs to bring our kids' imaginations to life is one of a GeekDad's favorite pastimes," says Ken Denmead, Editor for the GeekDad blog at WIRED.
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“Today's students are tomorrow's innovators,” said Ray Almgren, Vice President of Academic Relations at National Instruments. “National Instruments is committed to inspiring students to develop their creativity and explore the wonders of science and engineering through hands-on experiences such as the MoonBots contest. MoonBots participants will program their robots with easy-to-use, graphical software powered by National Instruments LabVIEW – the same software used by engineers and scientists around the world for innovative applications such as testing."
National Instruments transforms the way engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype, and deploy systems for test, control, and embedded design applications. Using NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and modular hardware, customers at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity, and dramatically reduce time to market. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people.
National Instruments believes today’s students must be equipped to be tomorrow’s innovators. To this end, N works closely with educational organizations and companies such as the LEGO Group to deliver the technology necessary to support hands-on, project-based learning. Leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational organizations and universities around the world use NI technology and tools to prepare students to drive the next generation of innovation.