Student group from Hungary takes top prize in global competition designed to simulate Google Lunar X PRIZE missions using LEGO robots
PLAYA VISTA, CA (December 13, 2012) - The X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group announced today the winners of MoonBots 2012: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge. This third annual competition challenged teams of students ages 9 to 17 to design, program and build robots that simulate lunar missions similar to those required to win the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, a global incentivized competition to further the commercial exploration of space.
The Grand Prize winner, Team HungaroBots from Hungary, earned a VIP trip to test their creations at the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems in Hilo, Hawaii. The team, comprised of 16- and 17-year-olds from the town of Sopron, Hungary, was introduced to the competition by the Google Lunar X PRIZE team, Puli Space.
The runners-up were Team Incredibots from Ohio, Team Apollo 19 from California, and Team Titanium Springboks from South Africa, all of whom will receive complimentary registrations into the FIRST® robotics league.
The student competition, which began in May, attracted 147 teams from 22 countries who each submitted an entertaining, scientific video about space exploration and their proposed designs. From there, a panel of judges selected 30 finalists, each of whom were tasked with building and programming a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot, creating an original one-of-a-kind lunar landscape for their robot to explore, and using the landscape as a tool to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in their respective communities.
“We are proud to have seen the number of entrants double over last year, and encouraged by the increased global reach of this competition,” says Chanda Gonzales, Google Lunar X PRIZE Education Director. “The ingenuity and innovation displayed by the finalists speaks volumes to the promise of future space exploration and associated scientific and technological advancements.”
“With more freedom in the competition parameters, teams have had to be very creative and imaginative when building their own Lunar landscapes and designing the LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to negotiate them,” adds Steven Canvin, LEGO MINDSTORMS Community Manager. “We are thrilled to partner with the X PRIZE Foundation to provide the tools and the framework to enable young people around the world to promote STEM education within their schools and communities.”
In addition to the X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group, competition partners include WIRED magazine, Dexter Industries, Rotacaster, PISCES, Cleantech Open, and FIRST®. More information, including the full list of finalists, can be found at http://www.moonbots.org.
ABOUT GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE
The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE will be awarded to the first privately funded teams to build robots that successfully land on the lunar surface, explore the Moon by moving at least 500 meters (~1/3 of a mile), and return high definition video and imagery. The competition's grand prize is worth $20 million. To provide an extra incentive for teams to work quickly, the grand prize value will change to $15 million whenever a government-funded mission successfully explores the lunar surface, currently projected to occur in 2013. Additionally, a second place prize of $5 million will be available for the second team to complete the competition objectives. A total of $4 million in bonus prizes are available for achieving other specific mission objectives, including operation at night; traveling more than 5km over the lunar surface; detection of water; and precision landing near an Apollo site or other lunar sites of interest (such as landing/crash sites of man-made space hardware). Lastly, a $1 million award will go to the team that demonstrates the greatest attempts to promote diversity in the field of space exploration. For more information, go tohttp://www.googlelunarxprize.org.
ABOUT LEGO GROUP
The LEGO Group (www.lego.com) 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 9,500 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.