R2T2 Mars mission
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16 (one team per robot)
10 years old and up
It is the year 2032. A meteorite has damaged an important power station on Mars and we need to assess the damage and restart the main generator. Thankfully, we have 16 robots on site. Each robot can be controlled from Earth by a team of engineers and space experts. From Mars to Earth there is a delay in the video transmission of three minutes when Mars is at its closest in its orbit and 21 minutes when Mars is farthest, and direct remote control is impossible at that moment. Therefore the robots must be programmed in advance by the experts on Earth to solve the task.
- Mission day
- After the mission
This mission involves 16 robots on Mars. The colours red, green, blue and yellow and divided in the four sectors: A, B, C and D. One team controls one robot. If the teams are physically far away from each other, then communication takes place via an online chat to ensure coordination in their efforts and actions.
Preparation is necessary for success. This has always been the case in all missions. It is important to build a team with members who complement each other, are able to organise their future workspace and together have the various skills needed for the mission. Here are some tips:
Building a team
Having team members with different skills are interesting and important for building a good team. For participation in R2T2 missions, it is not necessary to have participants who only know how to program. It is equally important to have a team member who can communicate well with other teams or could communicate in another language. Also, a good communicator could be a team leader to maintain a positive atmosphere during the mission.
An ideal team would have at least 3 people:
- a strategy manager – communicates the program to the robot, decides what sequence of actions to undertake, how to coordinate them, and creates a test environment at their local site. If the team is made up of students from different classes, it is better to give this role to the trainers/teachers.
- a communication manager – monitors what is happening in the chat and on Mars, communicates to the team the messages or the requests given by the organisers or from other teams, and also communicates with the other teams.
- one or two programming managers – implements strategies through a series of programs, local tests, and finally programs the robot at a distance.
If time permits, there is also the option to organise turns in each role within the team so that each student can undertake a little bit of each role’s responsibility.
Workspace organisation and the necessary materials for a team:
Necessary materials for a team to be prepared:
- a computer for the remote work – with Aseba 1.6.1 installed to establish the connection to the robot on Mars. This computer can also be used to project the video stream on a wall or screen as well as communicate on the chat.
- a computer for the local work – with Aseba 1.6.1 or Thymio Suite installed for connection to a local robot. It is also recommended to prepare some material that could be used to make black lines, obstacles, walls, etc. in order to make the best tests.
- a tool to transfer the correct program – from the computer connected to the local robot to the computer connected to the remote robot (a USB key, online drive, etc.).
If you have a few teams in the same class and you have a projector, you could project the live stream on a big screen.
Exercises for programming:
The connection to the robot on Mars is made through Aseba 1.6.1. The robot can then be programmed with Aseba Studio and VPL+VPL Advanced. That will depend on the programming level of the team.
All you need to know is:
A team brings people together with different skills, but all working towards the same goal – to program a robot on Mars with perfect precision! This puts responsibility on everyone. Under these circumstances, when there is not much time, an error in communication, programming or management can bring a mistake that will have to be corrected and lose time. This is why it is essential each member of the team takes responsibility, respects each other, listens to each other and brings a positive attitude even in case of failure, because if you do not control your robot in space who else will?
Working with the other teams
The mission will be much more successful if all the robots manage to position themselves around the generator station. In order to have this ideal situation to end the mission successfully, keep the idea throughout the mission that all of the teams make one great team! Each team has different skills from the other and each team carries the same level of responsibility in the mission. This is why, when looking for solutions, it is crucial to think about the consequences that your team’s solution can bring to the others. However, it is impossible to avoid mistakes. If it happens, that one team’s robot collides with another team’s robot, has programming difficulties or delays in programming, remember that all the teams are there to stick together and think together!
Since all the communication between the teams takes place in an online chat, this chat is also used to receive messages from the mission organizers. So, it is very important monitor the chat and not leave it without anyone watching it during the mission!
Programming a remote robot
The main challenge is in the fact that when you send your program to the remote robot, it executes it immediately, just like a local robot. However, the video stream from the Moon has a minimum delay of 30 seconds. So, if the robot is not programmed correctly, it is impossible to notice this error right away and stop it on time. That is why it is necessary to do tests locally first.
Programming the local robot
Programming the local robot helps to apply all the ideas and solutions to solve problems on Mars. If after a test the local robot does not do what the team thought it would do, the robot on Mars will not do it either. So, it is important to keep on testing.
When the mission is over, don’t forget to congratulate your team and the other teams!
It is possible to receive a certificate of participation. If you would like one, please ask us for it.
We will be very pleased to have your feedback, input, thoughts and opinions on the mission as well as its organization in order to improve our missions and create more!
Here are the steps to take before the day you will participate in a mission with one or more teams:
The preparation material for the teams is available under the « Before the mission » tab.
It is possible to join missions that already have fixed dates in case we are looking for other participants. It is also possible to request a mission. Check our availabilities on the agenda des missions and write to us. If you have not yet participated in an R2T2 mission, it is preferable to write to us at least one month before the date of the mission.
|Other educational organizations
The price includes the connection tests with the team leaders and a mission of 2.5 to 3 hours.
Contact us if you are interested!
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