Monthly Archives: September 2012

International Observe the Moon Night September 22 Field Trip report

What does Robotics have to do with the Moon?   Glad you asked.   Google Lunar X Prize is offering $30 million USD in prizes for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the Moon that can complete tasks as stated in the prize documents.   Google and several other companies also sponsor a competition for kids called MoonBots.  Model Scout Robotics has a team entered in this competition.  We are learning some astronomy as part of our work in this competition.

Model Scout Katie and her coach went on an astronomy field trip Saturday night September 22nd 2012 to participate in International Observe the Moon Night 2012.    The moon gazing party at the Rockwall Texas public library was led by Max Corneau, a local NASA JPL Space Ambassador.     Mr. Corneau had four telescopes set up to observe the moon.    The telescope provided a brighter and a more 3D effect than looking at pictures of the moon surface online.

Model Scout Matthew was on a boy scout trip at Camp James Ray on Lake Texoma near Pottsboro, TX. His patrol had an impromptu Moon Watch event at camp using binoculars instead of telescopes.   They used the materials published by International Observe the Moon Night to study the moon (pages 1 to 10).   Per Neil Armstrong’s family request, Matthew winked at the moon in honor of Neil Armstrong.  Here’s Matthew winking at the Moon in scout uniform to honor Distinguished Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong on flickr.  Here’s the worldwide IOMN 2012 Wink for Neil Armstrong photo group.

Below are some other photos from our participation in IOMN 2012.

Welcome 2012 North Texas FLL Teams and Coaches

Today was the first UTD Coaches Clinic’ for 2012, hosted by Dr. Kenneth Berry. We made a lot of new contacts at the clinic and were able to hear advice and ideas from many other North Texas area FLL coaches.

This year Model Scout Robotics is maintaining a resources page with links and copies of documents relating to the North Texas Regional FLL tournaments. The page is available at , or you can follow the “FLL” links in the menu above.

We’ve created this page primarily for our own benefit — to make it easy to find and refer to announcements and files sent by the various contest organizers, especially when we’re away from our desktops. We figure others might find it useful as well.

If nothing else, be sure to join the North Texas FLL Google Group — lots of announcements and helpful discussions take place there.


Coppell Robotics hosting FLL scrimmage Nov. 4

Terrific news! Coppell Robotics will again be hosting a scrimmage for FLL teams on November 4th. They hosted a scrimmage last year, and as a (then) rookie FLL team we found it to be incredibly helpful in our preparations for the regional qualifiers.

Also, like last year, the scrimmage will be held in conjunction with the school’s 5th Annual Engineering Expo, which means that FLL team members can explore schools and projects related to engineering, as well as see some of the entries for high school level competitions. Last year our team really enjoyed touring the many exhibits.

So, if you’re a FLL 2012 team in the North Texas area, I highly recommend having your team participate in the scrimmage. Don’t worry if your robot doesn’t perform well — the important thing is to get some experience with a contest-like environment and to see how other teams are approaching the challenges. (For example, the “fish sweeper” we used in last year’s robot game came directly from watching another team’s robot at the scrimmage do a similar thing.)

Space is limited, though, only about 15-25 teams will be able to participate, first-come first-served. To register or get more details, send an email to

Even if you don’t have a robot ready for the scrimmage, make plans to attend the scrimmage and Expo. Just having an opportunity for your team to meet other teams and share ideas will be worth it.

International Observe the Moon Night 2012 is Saturday, Sept 22nd

This Saturday night, September 22, is International Observe the Moon Night.   Space enthusiasts with telescopes have planned moon observation events throughout the world.  Many of the events are open to the public.  To find a party near you, check out the event map at the International Observe the Moon event’s web site.    There are hundreds of moon gazer parties throughout the world.  Chances are there is a public moon watch event near you where you can talk with space enthusiasts and view the moon through their telescopes.   Our robotics club will be at a Dallas area public moongazer party.


MoonBots 2012 Landscape Design, Game Idea and Missions work complete

For the MoonBots competition, Model Scout Robotics had to complete   “Scaled Lunar Landscape Design” and “Game Idea and Mission” documents.

We finished our paperwork for the September 15 MoonBots deadline.  We have finished this work as described in the MoonBots 2012 official rules.

Click here to see our design work for the MoonBots Phase II competition.

MoonBots Mission Models complete

We finished building our MoonBots Phase II mission models today.

Our next deadline for the MoonBots Phase II is the landscape scaled drawing and game design.  Both of these are due on September 15.  We have our game design finished.  We will finish our scaled drawing at our next 2 MoonBots meetings.

Katie is working on Sunday with our team captain to upgrade our website to add a section for our MoonBots Phase II documents.

Senior Solutions theoretical maximum: 733 points

By my calculations, the theoretical maximum score for FIRST LEGO League Senior Solutions is 733 points:

* Wood Working       25
* Medicine           25
* Service animals    20
* Bowling            60
* Strength exercise  25
* Stove              25
* Gardening          25
* Video call         40
* Quilting           90
* Cardiovascular    118
* Flexibility        40
* Transitions        65
* Similarity         45
* Ball game         130 (see note)

Total               733

Note: It’s possible to score 130 points in the ball game mission if the robot puts balls back into the rack without causing a glitch or violating Rule 24.


Rest in Peace Neil Armstrong, First Man to Walk on the Moon

Neil Armstrong, American Astronaut, the first man to walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969, has died.

He lived an amazing and long life.   Some of his accomplishments: Eagle Scout, US Navy pilot, US Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer, Space Program advocate, College Professor, Dad, Distinguished Eagle Scout, GrandDad.

Here’s a photo of Neil as a boy.  He grew up in Ohio and was a Boy Scout.  He earned his flying pilot license at 15 before he earned his car driver’s license.

He sent greetings to Boy Scouts at a Scout Jamboree from the Apollo XI mission and  even took his scout badge as one of few personal items on the Apollo XI mission.  So Scouting was important to him.

I’m  impressed with how he managed to be calm when his aircraft or spacecraft was malfunctioning — he was a brave man.    He used his brains to solve the problem and from what I read was always calm under adversity.

This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  

         Neil Armstrong, July 21st, 1969, Apollo XI  from surface of the Moon

Sometime soon I hope to have time to read his full biography.   I’ve been pretty busy with soccer, scouting, MoonBots and First Lego League.

Rest in Peace Mr.  Armstrong.  Thank you for your service.