November 21 NASA's FIRST Robotics Competition Sponsorship Update
Due to the devastating consequences of Hurricane Sandy, NASA has delayed the announcements of the winners of the 2013 FIRST Robotic Competition Grants. The winners will now be announced prior to the end of November.
The letters of support are still due by November 23, 2012, 18:00:00 PST.
October 24 NASA's FIRST Robotics Competition Sponsorship Application Closed
The 2013 NASA FIRST Robotics Competition Sponsorship application system is now closed. Thanks to all those that applied. The winners will be announced no later than November 21st, 2012.
Letters of Support are due November 23, 2012, 18:00:00 PST.
September 28 Curiosity Finds Old Streambed
NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence -- images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels -- is the first of its kind.
"From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep," said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley. "Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we're actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it."
About two hours after landing on Mars and beaming back its first image, NASA's Curiosity rover transmitted a higher-resolution image of its new Martian home, Gale Crater. Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., received the image, taken by one of the vehicle's lower-fidelity, black-and-white Hazard Avoidance Cameras - or Hazcams.
While the image is twice as big in pixel size as the first images beamed down from the rover, they are only half the size of full-resolution Hazcam images. During future mission operations, these images will be used by the mission's navigators and rover drivers to help plan the vehicle's next drive. Other cameras aboard Curiosity, with color capability and much higher resolution, are expected to be sent back to Earth over the next several days.
NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.
Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.
With less than three days to go before touchdown on the Red Planet, Curiosity remains in good health, with all systems operating as expected. Given the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft's consistent and stable course, today the project decided that the planned Trajectory Correction Maneuver 5 (TCM-5) and its corresponding update to parameters for the autonomous software controlling events during entry, descent and landing will not be necessary. As of 12:35 p.m. today PDT (3:35 p.m. EDT), the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft was approximately 468,000 miles (753,200 kilometers) from Mars, or a little less than twice the distance from Earth to the moon. It is traveling at about 8,000 mph (3,576 meters per second). It will gradually increase in speed to about 13,200 mph (5,900 meters per second) by the time it reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere.
Try your own skills in facing the extreme challenges of landing a rover on Mars! This experience uses the Kinect motion sensor on the Xbox 360, Microsoft's home entertainment console. Mars Rover Landing is freely available in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Kinect Central.
NASA's most advanced planetary rover is on a precise course for an early August landing beside a Martian mountain to begin two years of unprecedented scientific detective work. The area where NASA's Curiosity rover will land on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT) has a geological diversity that scientists are eager to investigate, as seen in this false-color map based on data from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.Curiosity is scheduled to land at approximately 10:31 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6).
NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard.
"We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "That could get us to the mountain months earlier."
It was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased confidence in precision landing technology aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, which is carrying the Curiosity rover. That spacecraft can aim closer without hitting Mount Sharp at the center of Gale crater. Rock layers located in the mountain are the prime location for research with the rover.
Curiosity is scheduled to land at approximately 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6). Following checkout operations, Curiosity will begin a two-year study of whether the landing vicinity ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life.
Like a tourist waiting for just the right lighting to snap a favorite shot during a stay at the Grand Canyon, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has used a low sun angle for a memorable view of a large Martian crater.
The resulting view catches a shadow of the rover in the foreground and the giant basin in the distance. Opportunity is perched on the western rim of Endeavour Crater looking eastward. The crater spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter. Opportunity has been studying the edge of Endeavour Crater since arriving there in August 2011.
The scene is presented in false color to emphasize differences in materials such as dark dunes on the crater floor. This gives portions of the image an aqua tint.
May 03 Paydirt at 8-Year-Old Mars Rover's 'New Landing Site'
Opportunity completed its original three-month mission on Mars eight years ago. It reached Endeavour last summer, three years after the rover's science team chose Endeavour as a long-term destination. This crater is about 4 billion years old and 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.
The impact that excavated the crater left a jumble of fused-together rock fragments around the rim. In a chunk brought to the surface by a later, much smaller impact into the rim, Opportunity found evidence that the original impact released heated, underground water that deposited zinc in that rock. Later after the impact, cool water flowed through cracks in the ground near the edge of the crater and deposited veins of the mineral gypsum.
April 25 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship
The 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship is finally here! The Championship competition is taking place on April 26-28, 2012 from the America's Center (Edward Jones Dome) in St. Louis, MO. Can't make it in person, check out the live webcasts or the NASA TV education channel.
The VEX Robotics World Championship is a gathering of top robotics teams from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments and compete with/against the best of the best. The 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship will include top teams from over 230 VEX Robotics Competition tournaments happening in cities around the world from May 2011 to March 2012. Teams will play the game Gateway for the 2011-2012 season. Can't make the event, watch live webcasts of the competition
The 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Events are now over! We have reached the point of our District Championships. The Michigan FRC State Championship & Mid-Atlantic Robotics FRC Championship are taking place this weekend! Just around the corner is the FIRST Championship!
The annual FIRST Robotics competition is in full swing with some 60-thousand high school students competing in regional challenges using robots they built in six weeks from a common kit of parts. NASA is the largest sponsor of the national FIRST program, supporting five regional competitions and more than 280 teams. Since January, high school FIRST Robotics teams across the country have worked tirelessly to build, program and test robots in preparation for this year's challenge called Rebound Rumble.
March 16 MATE ROV Regional Webcast
The 2012 MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) ROV Competition is underway! We will have a webcast available for the 2012 Wisconsin Regional Competition this weekend! The webcast will run on March 18th, 2012 from 8:00AM - 3:00PM.
January 23 U.S. National VEX Robotics Championship
This year CREATE's signature event will be held on March 15-17, in Omaha at the The Salvation Army Kroc Center in its 122,000 square-foot, world class, state-of-the-art facility. Teams from across the United States will be invited to participate in a unique event that spans all ages with three different games played in five separate tournaments. Can't make the event, check out the webcast(link will be posted shortly).
Botball is expanding in various ways this season:
A new Facebook registration - Botball Educational Robotics Program; A new website, Botball Community, social network for current and former Botball participants, New regional venues in Denver, Tucson, and Chicago, as well as in Austria and Qatar.
For 2012 team registration, as well as the schedules and regional venues, educator resources - software - the latest twitter, and sign-up for the newsletter, or to see video archives of past games, check the main Botball website.
An engine firing on Jan. 11 will be the biggest maneuver that NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will perform on its flight between Earth and Mars.
The action will use a choreographed sequence of firings of eight thruster engines during a period of about 175 minutes beginning at 3 p.m. PST (6 p.m. EST or 2300 Universal Time). It will redirect the spacecraft more precisely toward Mars to land at Gale Crater. The trajectory resulting from the mission's Nov. 26, 2011, launch intentionally misses Mars to prevent the upper stage of the launch vehicle from hitting the planet. That upper stage was not cleaned the way the spacecraft itself was to protect Mars from Earth's microbes.
The maneuver is designed to impart a velocity change of about 12.3 miles per hour (5.5 meters per second).