MSU invites high school teams to compete in NASA robotics competition

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Montana State University’s Academic Technology and Outreach will partner with the Montana Learning Center and the Montana Office of Public Instruction to host a NASA robotics competition that is open to teams of Montana high school students.

The competition is in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings. Each team will build a replica of the Apollo lunar module and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on a map of the moon’s surface. Students will then modify and program a Lego Mindstorms robot to explore the surface and gather a rock sample. High school students will also use the drone to retrieve their lunar module.

The competition will take place on Friday, July 19 at the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake. The winning team will receive a trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Registration for 25 high school teams is now open and ends on Saturday, March 30. Teams must be affiliated with an organization such as a school, library, museum, after-school program or club. Registration and additional information can be found at https://nwessp.org/apollo50/registration.

There is no cost to enter, but teams must provide their own equipment as well as cover their own travel costs. Scholarships to fully fund several teams are available. Each of the $1,750 team scholarships will cover equipment costs, lodging and meals at the Montana Learning Center, as well as a coaching stipend. Scholarships will be focused on underserved or underrepresented groups in Montana.

The competition is sponsored by the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, MSU’s Academic Technology and Outreach, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Force 1 RC.

Details and rules of the challenge are available at https://nwessp.org/apollo50/.

Sponsors and volunteers for the competition should contact Ryan Hannahoe at montanalearningcenter@gmail.com or 406-475-3638.

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