Monday, January 13, 2014

Craig and Parker High School Students will compete in the Zero Robotics national contest finals programming actual robotic satellites that are on the International Space Station (ISS).  Students watch via live downlink while the competition is judged by astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Oleg Kotov aboard the ISS.

Our very own Craig and Parker High School Robotics Team is a finalist along with other teams from across the US.  The Janesville High School Robotics Team is the only Midwest team to qualify for this year’s event.  The Janesville High School team is paired with high school teams from Virginia and California for the finals competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The event will take place on January 17, 2014 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Zero Robotics is a competition in which high school students program small robots to fly aboard the International Space Station.  The robots, called SPHERES, were originally conceived and built by students in MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory.  These robots (roughly the size and shape of a basketball) run on compressed gas, and can be programmed to spin, revolve, hover and navigate through the air.  Researchers use SPHERES to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking.  They fly inside the station’s cabin autonomously, but under the supervision of an astronaut.   Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment.

This year’s challenge is called CosmoSPHERES.  The game is inspired by the threat of comets headed for earth and posing danger to humanity.  To achieve game objectives students programmed their satellites to competitively alter a fictional comet’s earthbound path.


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