LEGO + Space Exploration + Kid Coders = MoonBots

We’ve got so many cool things on the Over the Air programme this year, Ariel Waldman will be launching the event with a Keynote on Hacking Science & Space Exploration, Adam Cohen-Rose will be running his popular LEGO Mindstorms hacking session again this year, and both Code Club & Young Rewired State  are helping us shine a light on Coding for Kids.

So when we heard about the MoonBots competition, we knew we had to help spread the word!

MoonBots 2012 Challenges Youth From Around the World to Learn About Space Exploration and Have Fun!

Playa Vista, CA (May 15, 2012) – The X PRIZE Foundation and the LEGO Group today announced MoonBots 2012: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge. This third annual contest will challenge teams of youth to study the history of heritage artifacts left on the Moon, while also getting an opportunity to learn about the new and exciting things that private industry and government are doing in the arena of space exploration, including the $30 million dollar Google Lunar X PRIZE.

“In the MoonBots 2012 Challenge, students develop their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills by using LEGO MINDSTORMS robots. New for this year, teams from all over the world will get to address some of the same issues as the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams. They will learn about the heritage artifacts left on the Moon, share their thoughts about the kinds of artifacts they think our Google Lunar X PRIZE teams should leave on the Moon and inspire us with what they would personally leave on the Moon if they could!  We are also asking these students to tell us what they think an ultimate lunar landscape challenge course for a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot would be. ” said Chanda Gonzales, Google Lunar X PRIZE Education Manager.

The contest is divided into two phases. In Phase One, there is no limit to the number of Teams that compete. Teams of 2-5 youth, 9-17 years old will produce a fun, creative and scientific video and asked to share with us their lunar landscape challenge design.  It could be made out of LEGOs, sustainable materials or even rocks and sand. Teams will also be asked to give details about where they would show off their lunar landscape. It could be at their school, at a mall or maybe even a theme park.

From these submissions, 30 Teams will be chosen as finalists and provided a stipend to build their ultimate lunar landscape. They will also receive a free LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot that they will have to learn how to program to complete a course on their Moon. During the fall of 2012, these Teams will share with their achievements during a live broadcast and public display of their designs. This will enable people from all over the world to not only see the team’s robot and challenge courses but also to play the game with the team.  The Grand Prize winners will receive a trip for the Team and their families to visit the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems on the Island of Hawaii and learn about how the Hawaiian landscape today helps scientists prepare to explore the Moon

Free registration and Phase One of the contest will be open from May 15th through July 15. Phase Two of the contest begins August 1h through November 15th. To learn more about the MoonBots 2012 Challenge, additional partners supporting the contest, and how to register a team, visit


The LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark. It was founded in 1932, and today, the group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials for children, employing approximately 5,600 people globally. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities. LEGO products can be purchased in more than 130 countries.

In 1998, The LEGO Group spearheaded the consumer robotics category the company with the launch of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics Invention System, that introduced children to the world of robotics, and offering the ability to create their own intelligent, interactive, autonomous LEGO robots. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics toolkits allow children of all ages to design, build, and program their own robots using LEGO building elements, customized hardware, and an easy-to-use icon-based graphical programming language.