In partnership with Google, National Instruments, Wired magazine's GeekDad blog, and other technology leaders, the contest challenged students between the ages of 9 and 18 to create simulated lunar rovers using Lego bricks and Mindstorm electronic components. The contest is based on the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize, an international competition in which twenty teams are competing to build a rover that could land on and explore the surface of the moon.
More than two hundred teams from sixteen nations registered for the MoonBots contest, with the winners selected by a team of expert judges. Team Landroids, a group of five eighth-grade friends in New Jersey, was named the grand-prize winner and will travel to Lego's world headquarters in Billund, Denmark, to tour the Lego factory and meet with company executives. Second place was awarded to Team Shadowed Craters of California, while third place was captured by Team Moonwalk of New Jersey and Connecticut. The three finalist teams also received registration and start-up kits to compete in the FIRST robotics competition.
"The work these students did this summer was truly spectacular," said William Pomerantz, senior director of space prizes at the X Prize Foundation. "The mission very closely paralleled the work our Google Lunar X Prize teams were doing, so we greatly enjoyed watching those technical challenges worked out on a different scale. The new era of lunar exploration is being built on the contribution of people of all ages and nationalities, and it is clear that the MoonBots participants have what it takes to make important contributions."