On Friday 2013-Jan-11 starting at 08:30 ET over 200 High School students from around the world will join in fierce competition to claim the championship spot in the Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2012 (http://zerorobotics.mit.edu ) as robotic satellites aboard the International Space Station race using the programs the students wrote. The finalists will watch a live downlink from space as astronauts supervise the robots during the ISS Finals Event .
After three months of competition via online simulations, six Alliances from Europe and nine Alliances from the United States will compete in a two-part finals event. In each part a European and a United States champion Alliance will be determined through several elimination matches. Each Alliance consists of three different teams of High School students that joined forces in November to write the best computer programs which will run on the SPHERES Satellites (http://ssl.mit.edu/spheres ) aboard the International Space Station.
The United States Alliances will travel to MIT in order to see their program tested aboard the ISS live, with direct transmission from space, as an astronaut operates the SPHERES Satellites that will run the students’ code. The European Teams will assemble at the ESA ESTEC research center in the Netherlands for a similar event. The two locations will be connected via teleconference.
Zero Robotics is a programming competition where students are presented with a challenge (“the game”). Two teams compete at a time to achieve the best performance in the game. The teams write all of their code via the Zero Robotics website, which has a high-fidelity simulation of the SPHERES satellites. Using the same website the students see simulated results of their code performance. The competition closely resembles the way software is written for spacecraft, requiring the students to write code that controls the satellite position and pointing, communicates with other satellites, and interprets its sensors to determine what to do next. All of these tasks are done autonomously – once the students write their code, they cannot modify it for that “run”; in the case of the ISS Finals the code cannot be changed, just like in real spacecraft!
This year’s challenge is called RetroSPHERES. The game is inspired by the looming problem of space trash in low earth orbit which poses danger to astronauts, functioning satellites and space launches. To achieve the game objectives the students programmed their satellites to competitively complete three tasks: 1) virtually deploy micro dust clouds in order to de-orbit small pieces of space debris with high velocity dust collisions, 2) rendezvous with a virtual decommissioned polar satellite to re-purpose parts from their communications antenna, and 3) de-orbit their satellite through an unknown space debris field using accurate sensing and navigation.
The SPHERES satellites are used by MIT, NASA, DARPA and other researchers to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites 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.
By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. This program helps students build critical engineering skills, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation.
The Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2012 is sponsored by DARPA and NASA, and brought to you by the MIT Space Systems Laboratory and its partners TopCoder, and Aurora Flight Sciences.
US teams (in seeding order)
|Team Rocket||River Hill High School||Clarksville||MD|
|Stuy-Naught||Stuyvesant High School||New York||NY|
|The Gru Crew||Lubbock High School||Lubbock||TX|
|DevilTech||West Lafayette High School||West Lafayette||IN|
|Team BACON||Charlottesville High School||Charlottesville||VA|
|Hart District Team||Hart School District (Acad. of the Canyons, West
Ranch HS, William S. Hart HS)
|Mira Loma Matadors||Mira Loma High School||Sacramento||CA|
|y0b0tics!||Montclair High School,||Montclair||NJ|
|Green Wrenches||Evergreen School District||Vancouver||WA|
|PRO grammers||Centennial High School/PUSD 11||Peoria||AZ|
|Force Lightning||Cypress Bay High School||Weston||FL|
|Basement Lions||Horace Mann School||Bronx||NY|
|Steel Men||Winston Churchill High School||Potomac||MD|
|Mustangs||Marriotts Ridge High School||Marriottsville||MD|
|phs_SMCS_Ox7DF||Poolesville High School||Poolesville||MD|
|Pirate Squad||SC Governor’s School for Science and Math||Hartsville||SC|
|AGHS||Albert Gallatin High School||Uniontown||PA|
|Team Na’Vi||West Essex Regional High School||North Caldwell||NJ|
|Betaware||Battlefield High School||Haymarket||VA|
|Plasma Robotics||Mesa Public Schools||Mesa||AZ|
|SuperNOVA||Prince William County Public School||Manassas||VA|
|The Pink Team||Rockledge High School/ Brevard County||Rockledge||FL|
|LBHS: America’s Team||Lake Brantley High School||Altamonte Springs||FL|
|Salt Lake City Constant
|Salt Lake Valley School Districts||Salt Lake City||UT|
|Phantom||Mira Loma High School||Folsom||CA|
|Tech High Robotics||Technology High School||Rohnert Park||CA|
EU Teams (in seeding order)
|Kathe in Space||Kaethe Kollwitz Oberschule||Berlin- Prenzlauer Berg||Germany|
|Sunday Programmers||Liceo SS E.Fermi””||Padova||Italy|
|Crab Nebula||Liceo Cecioni||Livorno||Italy|
|Sui Generis||Ramiro de Maeztu||Madrid||Spain|
|EPM Miguel de Guzmán||Esc. de Pensamiento Matemático M de G||Torrelodones||Spain|
|ROBOVALL||IIS G Vallauri||Fossano (CN) – Italy||Italy|
|RoboNatta||IIS Giulio Natta” – RIVOLI”||RIVOLI (TO)||Italy|
|AstroPenguins||ITIS Guglielmo Marconi||Padova||Italy|
|Atlantis||EBS Santa Maria||Vila do Porto||Portugal|
|Error 404||IIS Marconi Galletti||Domodossola||Italy|
|Uniformiter disformis||Colegio Retamar||Pozuelo de Alarcon||Spain|
|Ghost Pirates||IISS Sandro Pertini||Genzano di Roma||Italy|
|Democrito||Liceo Democrito – Rome (IT)||Rome||Italy|
|Why Not Pinin||ITIS Pininfarina||Moncalieri||Italy|