With about a week and a half remaining in the first MoonBots Challenge, let’s take a look at another of the contest’s finalists: a group of guys who call John Glenn‘s home state of Ohio home. The LegoAces, named after their Granville middle school mascot, the Blue Aces, are comprised of four middle school kids, Will, Eric, Daniel and Josh.
Their team captain, Thomas, a geek dad himself, says “I’m totally psyched about this cool program. I love that a room of our house has been taken over by robots and that these kids are getting a great head-start on learning how to work together and use all of the great tools that are available for collaboration.”
The LegoAces are no strangers to robotics competitions. For the past four years, they have competed in the FIRST Lego League and have made it to the state finals every single time. They have helped their fellow geeks by teaching classes in Mindstorms construction and programming, as well as hosting mini-competitions in the off-season.
When the call went out for MoonBots entries, it was no question that the LegoAces would enter. “The guys have been following every step of the Google Lunar X-Prize and the other X-Prizes for years and are big fans of both space exploration and Lego Robotics. Some of the team members have been participating for the past couple of years with a Lunar X-Prize team called “Frednet,” where they can stay in touch with the adventures and developments of an actual research team that is using an open source model to attack the Lunar X-Prize challenge. The MoonBots program is a perfect combination of an accessible robotics challenge and an awesome research area,” said Thomas.
As part of their preparation, the team has been taking field trips to learn more about space exploration and get in the right mood.
“We’ve learned tons about the moon, and a lot about the history and future of space exploration. We are loving every minute of it, and we really cannot think of a better way to spend summer,” the team agrees.
Asked how the MoonBots Challenge has impacted the team, Thomas says “As a parent and coach, Knowing all that they can do with this MoonBots challenge and the great and creative ideas they are coming up with, I’m looking forward to seeing how they put these lessons learned into practice over the next 40 years on other challenges they face in exploring to the moon and beyond.”
Take a look at the LegoAces’ documentary that got them into the final round (below) and check out their team page and video blog. Good luck to the LegoAces — and all the MoonBots finalists — in the last phase of the competition!