Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




DEEP IMPACT
Space droids battle to save Earth from comet
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 27, 2014


File image.

A comet heading towards Earth threatens humanity's existence - that was the virtual scenario of this year's Zero Robotics tournament. Secondary-school students from across Europe controlled miniature satellites on the International Space Station in a competition to save our planet.

The Space Station was turned into a playing field for the finals. The ultimate robot game challenged youngsters to write algorithms that controlled the Spheres, short for Synchronised Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.

The Spheres are volleyball-sized satellites that hover around the Station using 12 jets powered by compressed gas. These autonomous robots have their own power, propulsion and navigation.

Last Friday was the fourth time European contenders ran their commands in space, and each year the competition has grown. Over 140 European students joined the US competitors, writing code to redirect an incoming comet while taking space debris and limited laser resources into account.

European finalists met at the ESA Technical Centre in the Netherlands to follow the competition live from space. The US teams were connected at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On the Station, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and cosmonaut Oleg Kotov monitored the robotic battle. ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers, who monitored in 2012 from space, said "These finals are a great combination of gaming, science and technology. Robotics have a promising future to help us in orbit."

"It was fascinating to see how our code woke up the Spheres floating next to the astronauts!" said Eva Krebs, from the German team Kathe in Space.

"At school our commands stayed on the screen of our computers, but this time we could see the real thing working in space."

The contest started last year with online rounds of increasing difficulty. Teams faced real-world challenges: they had to deal with loss of signal, exhausted batteries and tight deadlines. Long nights of programming and lots of discussions among the teams to decide tactics are all part of the game.

Each finalist featured a three-team alliance from different European countries. The 18 teams were from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Strategies to save the world

With a virtual comet approaching Earth, the satellites had to use gravitational attraction, laser repulsion or a combination of methods to change its path of planetary destruction.

"Our strategy was to navigate towards the laser power-up, avoid the space debris, take the power-up and shoot the comet," proudly explains Tommaso Chemello of the winning team.

The first prize went to the alliance called C.O.F.F.E.E. - Company of Fantastic Fighters and Extravagant Experimenters - whose team included Sunday Programmers (Padova, Italy), Nemesis (Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain) and Hello World (Paris, France).

"We learned that there was a big difference between the simulation phase and the realtime competition on the Station. Things don't always go according to plan," confesses Tommaso.

European contenders enjoyed a whole day of space robotics with hands-on activities at the ESA Technical Centre. Apart from meeting new people and working as a real team, they built critical engineering skills.

"The motivation gained from this competition is priceless. Students from previous events are now pursuing engineering careers," points out Italian University coordinator Enrico Lorenzini.

.


Related Links
Education at ESA
Asteroid and Comet Impact Danger To Earth - News and Science






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





UAV Payloads 2014, 24 - 25 June - London, UK
DEEP IMPACT
Research program to tackle asteroid and space debris manipulation
Glasgow, UK (SPX) Nov 19, 2013
World-leading scientists will push the boundaries of studies on how to deflect asteroids and manipulate space debris, as the University of Strathclyde gets set to transform international space research. Led by Strathclyde, the Stardust programme - the first research-based training network of its kind - boasts some of the world's foremost experts in the field and aims to protect the planet ... read more


DEEP IMPACT
China's moon rover experiences abnormality

Yutu moon rover has 'abnormality': Xinhua

NASA Seeks Partnership Opportunities For Commercial Lunar Landers

Chang'e-3 probe sets out on new missions

DEEP IMPACT
NASA Receives Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Proposals for Evaluation

Opportunity at 10: New Findings from Old Rover

Mars 'jelly doughnut' rock intrigues scientists

Mystery Mars rock reveals unexpected chemical composition

DEEP IMPACT
NASA launches communications satellite

At Your Service: Orion Service Module Complete

Lawrence Livermore 'space cops' to help control traffic in space

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center to be Renamed for Neil Armstrong

DEEP IMPACT
Netizens extend blessings to troubled lunar rover

Official: China's space policy open to world

China launches communications satellite for Bolivia

China's moon rover continues lunar survey after photographing lander

DEEP IMPACT
Israeli astronaut may go to ISS by Russia's Soyuz spacecraft

Cygnus Work Under Way, Normal Station Operations Continue

Spaceflight, Nanoracks Partnership Launch CubeSat Customers Towards Historic ISS Deployment

Orbital's cargo ship arrives at space station

DEEP IMPACT
45th Space Wing Supports NASA Launch

Athena-Fidus receives its "kick" for Arianespace's upcoming Ariane 5 launch

ILS Proton To Launch Yamal 601

Turkish Telecoms Satellite to Launch From Baikonur Feb. 15

DEEP IMPACT
ALMA Discovers a Formation Site of a Giant Planetary System

Herschel Telescope Detects Water on Dwarf Planet

Bright star reveals new exoplanet

'Dwarf planet' in deep space has water

DEEP IMPACT
Google says buys artificial intelligence firm DeepMind

'Gears of War' videogame will stay in Xbox arsenal

MDA awarded key development work for exploration and communications

Lenovo to buy IBM's low-end server business for $2.3bn




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement