Category Archives: MoonBots

MoonBots 8/7/2012 Team Meeting

Today at MoonBots team meeting we did the following:

  • Watched Curiosity Entry Descent and Landing coverage on NASA TV and looked at latest pictures.  Matthew and Patrick had stayed up late to watch the coverage live late Sunday night.
  • The Dallas Morning News called to interview the team.  They and Iron Reign will be in an article in the Thursday or Friday newspaper.
  • We celebrated Anthony birthday with cake and strawberries.
  • Reviewed Mission Model status.  Matthew demoed his launcher.   We decided Anthony will create a space shuttle like vehicle in Lego Digital Designer to add more flair to the board.     Patrick showed a modification to the starting base. Everyone liked it.  There aren’t any other mission model changes.   Patrick will order the parts for the starting base.
  • Team placed the base for the MoonBots game board into place.    We added the 25 base plates and secured them together to each other using Legos.   We added our prototype mission high ridge and ramps.  We also added a paper version of each mission model to the board to see how it looks.
  • Katie inished the document on Game Missions with point values.   She adjusted the point values assigned at the last team meeting so the maximum score is 380.   We didn’t have time to review. She is working next on the game description and a scoring sheet.
  • Our next MoonBots meeting is on Saturday Aug 11th.

Our MoonBots Phase I prizes arrived

Our MoonBots Phase I finalist prizes arrived today!  We received a Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robotics kit to add to our collection, 4 Google Lunar X MoonBots 2012 t-shirts, a $150 Visa gift card, a Dexter Industries solar power kit for our Mindstorms robot, 25 Lego gray base plates, a set of four 48mm Lego compatible Rotacaster robot wheels, 10  Lego keychains and brochures to share. We will use our prizes to build our MoonBots Phase II contest challenge entry.

MoonBots Shopping Trip 8/3/2012

Team Captain went shopping at Home Depot to buy materials for MoonBots game board foundation.   He and Matthew trimmed the 2 boards of foundation to size. The base is cut into 2 pieces for easy, flat  transport of game board in the team minivan (with the back 2 seats removed).

MoonBots 8/3/2012 meeting

Anthony and Matthew did some tests on hill grade on early prototype on our MoonBots robot.  Calling our robot LunarScout  unless we come up with something better.   For testing, they looked around the house and decided on used school binders with rolled towels for the ramps and a cardboard box and heavy Wi Fit board for the high ridge section.   The robot worked well on fairly steep slope after Matthew made modifications to wheels and tires.   Robot needs some rework since too big to maneuver well and does not have the solar kit installed yet so more work is needed.

We designed our game and basic landscape during our Phase I meetings.   Katie and Anthony showed their mission models from Lego Digital Designer at the meeting.    Matthew  demoed his built mission models.    Team will work on changes as homework.

We have questions for the MoonBots contest expert before we finalize our landscape design. Our team captain sent email to the MoonBots contest team for clarifications..  Hopefully, we will have answers from contest expert so we finalize our landscape design.

Model Scouts are in the house; starting MoonBots Phase II

The team had a regular team meeting scheduled for Saturday, Aug 4th, but after making the MoonBots finalist list, we couldn’t wait for Saturday.   The team is at my house (Aug 2nd) working on a build of a rough terrain robot prototype for MoonBots Phase II.    There is something  Phineas and Ferb about the way the team is spending their summer.

“Ferb, I know what we are going to do today.”   Phineas

We made the MoonBots finals! Woo Hoo!

2012 MoonBots announced the 30 finalists of Phase 1 of the 2012 MoonBots: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge yesterday at 6pm.

Drum roll, please.   It’s official per the MoonBots website — Model Scout Robotics was one of 30 youth teams worldwide to be named a  Phase I finalist!   We get to participate in  Phase II.    The team is all smiles and overjoyed.

Thank you to sponsors of the 2012 MoonBots program for the opportunity to participate in Phase II MoonBots.  The team is getting ready to transform its designs into reality and show our community how fun and rewarding STEM can be for youth.

For Phase II we are planning a 6 foot by 6 foot lunar landscape with mission puzzles.  We will then build and program a LEGO Mindstorms robot to cleverly solve the puzzles.    The last part of the competition is sharing our project with youth in North Texas .    It’s a lot of work and we’re excited to make our design a reality.

Moon Day booth success!

The whole Model Scout Robotics family (scouts, parents and and coaches) had fun at Moon Day at Frontiers of Flight Museum on July 21st.   I’ll post photos and video when I get them from parents.

Moon Day is a local event that celebrates the anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon on July 20, 1969.   Model Scout Robotics ran the Circle 10 Boy Scout booth and our team’s booth — we were busy!    The scouts took several breaks from our booth to visit other booths and take part in the youth activities.   Each team member got a Lunar Sample Bag from the museum staff with lots of space related goodies.   (The team van now sports a NASA sticker. )

At our booth, the scouts shared their adventures and successes as a North Texas student robotics team.   Showed other kids and adults some of our team NXT Lego Mindstorm creations.    The younger kids loved watching us rerun our First Lego League 2011 robot, ScoutBot, doing the challenges.   The older kids liked running our tele-operated robots(claw, forklift) .  We were simulating control on Earth of 2 robots on the Moon.  Our coach controlled his NXT robot on the museum floor via bluebooth using Android phone app.

Our team mom was busy too – publicizing the new BSA STEM Nova awards that encourage youth to explore STEM subjects in the boy scout program and  the First Lego League robotics program open to youth teams age 10 to 14 in North Texas.

Matthew got interviewed for a story on local youth robotics.

The team parents’ ran the booth part of the time so scouts could tour the other booths at Moon Day and attend a couple of classes on Moon research and making artificial moon dust.  Matthew and Anthony got to touch a real moon rock.

The museum put all of the robot groups in the same floor area, so it was easy to talk shop with the other teams.   We visited with the other FIRST LEGO League team at the event, Iron Reign of Dallas.  They were at the Dallas Personal Robotics Groups booth.  They brought the Moonbots 2011 landscape and their robot.

Our booth was between to the Dallas Mars Society and Dallas Personal Robotics Group.  It was cool that the Dallas Area Rocketry club was across the aisle from us too.

Dallas Mars Society brought their Mars Curiosity rover model and their Mars landscape.   They gave us tips on making a moonscape inexpensively.    We liked their rover’s camera system — wireless, full color display and the small camera can run on 9volt battery.    It is a Lorex LW1001.   Our coach is buying our team one of these cameras.   It might come in handy for Moonbots Phase II.

It was quite a day.    We provided community service to Circle 10 and the community, got a team field trip, practiced our speaking and presentation skills to get ready for upcoming FLL season and got some great tips that will help us in Moonbots Phase II, if we make the finals.


Moonbots 2012 Phase One team video complete

Model Scouts submitted their entry for Phase I of the MoonBots 2012 competition.   Luckily, Moonbots gave teams a three day extension; we used the time to polish up our video a bit. We also had to make some minor changes after we reviewed the long official rules with our video.

The script, storyboard, lego model and team member video clips on green screen was easy for us.   We watched many video clips on JPL and NASA to find the best ones for our video.   The video filming of the Phase I to Phase 4 robotic lunar base on green screen was more of a challenge.  The lunar base time sequence filming was a bit harder.   The blueprint was created with Photoshop on a still of the lunar base.

The hardest part for us was finding the right music.  Luckily we found Kevin MacLeod  at Incompetech Music after doing a Google search for “creative commons instrumental music”.    We wanted to use Star Trek music but our team sponsor was concerned about publishing a video with copyrighted music or copyrighted non-government funded groups (like NASA, JPL, ESA) photos or video clips on You Tube.

We used OpenShot Video Editor for our project.   It runs on Linux operating system and was FREE.  Our team captain recommended it.   Our team sponsor arranged a donation to them on our behalf after we successfully used it on this project.

We also used Adobe Photoshop (educational license) on Windows for special effect work.

Model Scout Robotics will be at Moon Day

Model Scout Robotics will celebrate Moon Day on Saturday July 21st  2012 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field Airport.  You can find us at the Circle 10 Council Boy Scout booth at the event.   Here’s the event flyer if you want to come: Moon Day 2012 at Frontiers of Flight Museum

We will be showing some of our robotic creations, telling other kids how to get started in robotics and showing our entry in the Moonbots 2012 competition.   The Circle 10 booth is also showing BSA’s new STEM NOVA awards for Cub, Boy Scouts and Venturer scouts. Robotics is one of the award’s concentration areas.

Of course, the team will check out the other cool booths.   Moonbots has put us in Astronomy and Space Exploration mode.


Working on Moonbots video

It was a long but productive team meeting today.

Matthew demoed his new monorail robot – it does a great job of climbing a staircase bannister.  Not what our coach probably had in mind for a stairclimber but its cool and creative.

We finished the script for our Google Moonbots video and shot footage of the team with green screen  on camera.   Will review team videos from coach library for clips to add in the team section for the video.   We need more wow factor in the  video ending.

For background music,  music from Stargate or Star Trek  is not going to happen.   You Tube might delete our video if the background music is copyrighted and violates “fair use copyright law”.   Looking for  license free background music.

The team built the lunar base from last meeting for use in our video.  We found most of what we needed from other Lego models around Matthew’s house so the build did not take long.    Need to film the base progression sequence tomorrow and switch to background clips on real lunar robots that do not have copyright issues.   Will switch from SpaceX to Dragon rockets in title sequence.