r2t2 Moon mission
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4-5 (one team per robot)
10 years old and up
It is the year 2047. A group of engineers detect meteorites approaching our planet. In one hour the first meteorite will fall on the Moon, this will allow the engineers to measure the impact of its fall.
This is possible because there are several robots on the Moon already equipped with all the necessary tools. The engineers managed to direct the robots to the area of the estimated fall. Within a few minutes, they received more precise data and were able to calculate the exact point where the meteorite will fall. Now the robots must be directed to this point and placed symmetrically around it. This will help to collect as much data as possible about this lunar event and make a more accurate estimate.
The challenge is complicated by the fact that the delay between the video stream from the Moon and the Earth is more than 30 seconds!
- Description of the mission
- Before the mission
- During the mission
- After the mission
With this mission 4 - 5 robots are able to be on the Moon and are differentiated by the colors: red, green, blue, yellow, and gray if there are 5 robots. One team controls one robot. If the teams are at distance from each other, the communication takes place via an online chat in order to coordinate their 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 all the teams in the same class and you have a projector, you could project the live stream on a big screen.
If all four (or five) teams are in the same space, it is not necessary to have someone from the team in the chat. However, it is very important to always have a team leader (coach/teacher) available to communicate with the mission organisers.
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 how to program to:
- advance on a black line
- follow a black line
- move forward to 20 cm or turn 90 degrees
- follow a wall
- adjust the sensitivity (grey level and distance in front of an object) of the distance sensors.
Here is our proposal of the exercises that could be carried out in order to succeed in the mission:
A team brings together people with different skills, but all are there for the same goal - to program a robot on the Moon with perfect precision! This places responsibility on everyone in the team. In these circumstances, when there is not a lot of time, an error in communication, programming or management can create a mistake that will have to be corrected and thus lose time. This is why it is essential each member of the team take responsibility, respect each other and listen to each other as well as be positive even in case of failure, because who else will control your robot in space?
Working with other teams
The mission will be much more successful if all the robots manage to position themselves around the meteorite's point of impact. In order to have this ideal situation when the meteorite falls, keep the idea throughout the mission that all the teams form one big team! Therefore, each team has different skills 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 this solution can bring to others. However, it is impossible to avoid mistakes. If they happen, such as one team's robot collides with another team's robot, has programming difficulties or delays in programming, 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. It is therefore important not to leave the chat room without anyone monitoring it during the mission!
Programming a remote robot
The main challenge is that when you communicate your program to the remote robot, it executes it immediately, just like a local robot. However, the video stream from the Moon has a delay of at least 30 seconds. So, if the robot is not programmed correctly, it is impossible to notice this fault right away and stop it on time. That is why it is necessary to make test on the local robot.
Programming the local robot
Programming the local robot helps to apply all the ideas and solutions to solve problems on the Moon. If after a test the local robot does not do what the team thought it would do, the robot on the Moon 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!
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