Girl-Led Teams Win MoonBots Grand Prizes
teams from three countries have won the
Google Lunar XPrize for Kids, also known as the MoonBots
Challenge, and for
the first time since the competition began in 2010, the majority of
members were girls.
competition sponsored by XPRIZE and Google
challenged teams of students between the ages of 8 and 17 to design,
program their own lunar rovers.
winning teams are:
GalacTechs from Tustin, CA: Two girls and
two boys, aged 8 to 11, who imagined a future where people vacation at
on the moon;
Lunas from Fort Lauderdale, FL: 9-year-old
twin sisters whose mission was based on a historical tale and
that the Earth once had "twin" moons that collided and merged into one;
from Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico: Three
girls ages 9 to 12, who were inspired by Mayan cultural beliefs that
measured by lunar phases; and
from Brooklyn, NY, and Naples, Italy:
Two boy cousins, 10 and 12, who live in different countries and share a
interest in the moon.
four grand prize winners were creative and
imaginative in the way they interpreted their moon tales," said Google
XPRIZE Senior Director Chandra Gonzales.
competition, which began in April, drew 239
teams from 29 countries who each submitted a written or video entry
inspires them about the moon. A panel of judges selected 30 teams and
each one of three platform systems (Lego Mindstorms EV3, Vex IQ or
G15 KS) to build and program a simulated robotic mission based on the
they submitted in the first round.
final presentations were shown to judges
via live webcast.
four teams will receive expense-paid trips to
Japan to meet the adult teams competing for the $30-million Google
XPrize, a contest to land a privately funded robot on the
moon, at their annual
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.