Form a small team comprised of children and adults, design a robot, solve the challenge, and be part of the Google Lunar X PRIZE race to the Moon with LEGO® MINDSTORMS®
Target Age Group
Students will use LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots to simulate and understand how to control a telescope on the Moon from the Earth.
You will need
LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit and other supplies described below, computer with internet access
Using LEGO Mindstorms NXT hardware you can make a teleoperated lunar telescope, have a lot of fun, experience the ~2.7 round trip speed of light time delay between the Earth and the Moon, and understand how it feels to control equipment on the Moon from the Earth.
What to do
Download an article, photographs and videos of a LEGO Mindstorms NXT lunar teleoperation demonstration along with software. You’ll need to load the Mindstorms software in order to view this code on your computer. Use this link for photos and short video clips of the model telescope in action and watch the two animations athere depicting the round trip time delay of a radio beam or a light beam between the Earth and the Moon.
The Mindstorms kit comes with directions to build a number of robots and contain a microprocessor controller “brick,” plus motors, switches, sensors and structural parts. The brick has a built-in Bluetooth radio which lets it communicate with other bricks or with other Bluetooth devices. For example, if you have a Bluetooth-enabled phone or laptop computer you can use those devices to send commands to your creations. In the model, a second brick represents the Earth control station for the lunar telescope.
What's Going On?
One of the reasons that the Moon is such a useful target for space activity is that it is sufficiently close to the Earth that people can control equipment on the Moon without leaving their home planet. It takes light or a radio signal about 1.3 seconds to travel between the Earth and the Moon for a round-trip travel time of about 2.7 seconds.
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