Ruth Dasso Marlaire
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Oct. 20, 2011
NASA Sponsors 2011 Western Region Robotics Competition
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – The robotic wars have begun! High school students from throughout the western United States will test their skills in robotics during the Western Region Robotics Forum, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PDT Friday Oct. 21, and 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PDT Saturday Oct. 22, 2011. The event will be held at Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose, Calif.

FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a long-standing challenge to inspire curiosity and create interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among high school students. The event gives students the opportunity to design, build, test and compete a robot that can perform specific functions. FIRST also gives students a crucial mentoring experience with NASA professionals, who help them explore solutions to robotics problems and understand real-world challenges faced by engineers and researchers.

Each year, FIRST presents a new robotics competition scenario with twists and nuances to challenge both rookie and veteran teams. Each team receives a kit of parts and has six weeks to design and build a robot based on the team's interpretation of the game scenario. Other than dimension and weight restrictions, the look and function of the robots is up to each individual team.

NASA plays a significant role by providing public access to robotics programs to encourage young people to investigate careers in science and engineering. Through the NASA Robotics Alliance Project, the agency provides grants to 297 teams and sponsors four regional student competitions, including a new FIRST regional competition in Washington, D.C. NASA engineers and scientists participate with many of these teams as technical participants and mentors to the students. Through these mentoring activities, NASA engineers are able to directly share their expertise and experiences with the nation's next generation of technical leaders.

The program was founded to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and communities. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST is a non-profit organization that designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue academic opportunities.

WHAT: Western Region Robotics Forum presents CalGames 2011, featuring 36 high school robotics teams

WHEN: Qualifying matches: 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PDT Friday Oct. 21, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. PDT Saturday Oct. 22, 2011; Playoff matches and award ceremony: 2 p.m. -5:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 22, 2011.

WHERE: Archbishop Mitty High School, 500 Mitty Ave., San Jose, Calif.

For more information about Western Region Robotics Forum, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project, visit:

For more information about FIRST Robotics Competition, visit:


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