Category Archives: General Interest

Portable FLL table demonstration

At last year’s North Texas regional qualifier tournament, the team’s robot did not perform as well as expected. After reviewing the robot’s performance, we decided that the practice table we had been using was partially to blame. So it was time to build a new one.

The video below shows the table we came up with. One important feature of the table is that it disassembles into pieces small enough to fit into our van, so we can take our FLL equipment to other schools and organizations for demonstrations. Indeed, this was the table we used for our Discovery Days exhibit at the Perot Museum earlier this year.


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.


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.

New Mars Rover Robot lands on Mars on August 6th

At end of today’s team meeting, we watched a short video on the upcoming Curiosity robotic rover landing on Mars called “Challenges of Getting to Mars: Zero Margin of Error” available on YouTube.   We discussed the engineering challenges, the meaning of zero margin of error and its ramifications.   The pictures of Curiosity on JPL’s web site show what looks to be the most sophisticated real robot we have seen.

Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6th, 2012 at 12:30am CDT. Coverage of the event is planned on the NASA JPL channel. Mark your calendar and set an alarm.