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Jan. 11, 2002

Jonas Diño

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-5612 or 650/604-9000

Release: 02-02AR

NOTE TO EDITORS: You are invited to attend the Northern California FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2002 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST at the San Jose City College gym located at 2100 Moorepark Ave., San Jose, Calif. Admission and parking at the college are free.


A daunting challenge awaits 500 northern California students and their miniature robots on Jan. 12, 2002, at San Jose City College.

Students must use their expertise and imagination to respond to the following transmission: Massive Arctic storm approaching. Stop. Expedition Arctic Impact ordered to evacuate. Stop. Renowned scientists trapped by storm. Stop. Millions in equipment and valuable research in peril. Stop. Request immediate assistance. The contestants, ages 9-14, will compete to save the imaginary Arctic expedition by programming their robots to perform various missions within a 2-minute time limit.

"The purpose of this challenge is to enhance student awareness in science and engineering. We often find that students participating in these programs show great improvement in their science and math courses," said Hank Schwoob, team mentor and volunteer coordinator, from NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. "I knew this was going to be big when out of 600 students in my daughter's school, 60 are participating."

The competitors' Lego robots will be scored on their ability to: raise three flags, launch a weather balloon, raise a weather tower, get a medicine barrel, deliver a research instrument, retrieve an ice core, move a storage hut away from cracking ice, deliver 10 fuel barrels, and rescue three scientists.

Teams have eight weeks to build their robots from identical kits received from the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization that sponsors robotics competitions across the country. Each year the competition focuses on a scientific or technological problem facing the world today. This year's challenge is global warming.

The FIRST Lego League is a collaborative effort between FIRST, the NASA Robotics Education Project managed by NASA Ames and industry partners.

Further information about the FIRST Lego League is on the Internet at:

More Details about the NASA Robotics Education Project are on the Internet at:



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