Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Flagstaff had a variety of events celebrating the city’s part in the achievement, including hosting a LEGO Robotics competition at NAU. Killip’s team “The LEGO Side” took part in the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (or ANGLeS) Challenge on July 19th and 20th. In this challenge, teams needed to fly and land a lunar module via drone in a particular location on a map of the moon’s surface. Following this, a LEGO Ev3-powered rover dropped off a payload, carefully avoided craters as it travelled to the other side of the map, and picked up a lunar sample specified by the judges to return to base and identify. Students were able to experience a unique blend of programming, geology, and engineering.
This challenge not only gave Killip’s 4-student team an excellent experience in on-the-fly problem solving, but was also a unique look into Flagstaff’s contributions to astronomy with field trips to Crater Lake and Lowell Observatory.
As the competition continued, “The LEGO Side” not only gained second place in the first round of the ANGLeS challenge, but won the secret competition “Failure is Not an Option.” While they were in the final four, there was still one more round to go: an opportunity to adjust and fix mistakes for another ANGLeS challenge run. As a testament to the hard work the team put in, this round was incredibly successful, enough for them to win the competition!
As the regional champions, the team will be heading out to Houston, TX to get a tour of the Johnson Space Center in August! Congratulations to the “The LEGO Side!”
Written by Stefan Nelson.