Monday, November 10, 2008

The Mission to Mars Begins Nov. 10, 2008

Today we all met and received our mission briefing. We began by reading the expectations of what we had to do and began planning how to get to Mars. We need a rocket, rover , and many other things to make it happen. The mission brief is below:

Jonesboro Robotics Club Mission 001 – From Earth To Mars And Back

Our first mission is to build a Robot capable of traveling from “Earth” to “Mars” and then return to “Earth”. This won’t be a “competition” in the sense you’re used to – There’s no best way or right way to do the job. You should all share your ideas and help each other achieve the final goal of getting your “Spacecraft” to Mars and bringing it home.
There are several things we hope you’ll take away from this:
A) Learn some of the aspects of spacecraft design and about the scientific missions (past & present) going on Mars now.
B) Learn to start building more functional Robots – Ones that are built for a specific purpose and don’t rely so much on flashy disco balls, fire wings and LEGO mini-figures.
C) While programming you’ll learn to record data from sensors (data-log) and make the Robot perform a series of actions to navigate from one place to another.
Each person or group will be given a RCX, 2 motors and a deck of Marsbound cards to help in your design, along with the attached Spacecraft Design Log Sheet. The final design of each Robot will also have a temperature and light sensor attached to provide real data which will be recorded by the RCX.
The Marsbound cards feature pictures and information about the various components that go into an interplanetary spacecraft. They give a weight, power usage number, and cost. You’ll need to design your spacecraft to fit into the mission “budget” of $250,000,000 (250 Million Dollars!). You’ll also need to be mindful of the weight of your craft, so that your rocket can lift it, and the power usage of the components you attach, making sure your ship can generate enough power. Each component you choose to add from the cards (except for the rocket, which is the RCX and motors) will need to be built from LEGO pieces and attached to your spacecraft, securely, and so they don’t block the functions of other components.
Finally – to stir things up just a little more – each group will draw one of the six Green cards, laid face down. Three of these will add money to your budget – the other three cause you headaches! Good luck to all!

Hopefully you will be successful. Keeping within the budget is hard. Getting your rover to Mars may be harder. Take your time and plan your design carefully and stay within your budget. A challenge to be sure. Also being sure you rover doesn't have so much stuff on it that the rocket can't lift off!!! Try to make your project with more substance and less flash!!! Someday people will make it to Mars and we will by flying around at Warp speed but in the mean time, Keep It Simple Silly!!! :) !

No comments: