The Astromechs are a community-based set of teams sponsored in part by the Kansas City Robotics Foundation. The Astromechs FLL team accepts both public-schooled and home-schooled students between the ages of 9 and 15 (must not be 15 before 1 Jan 2017 to participate this year). We are only able to accept up to 10 team members total on to the team for a given season (league rules). And year over year we only have a few open slots available. The Kansas City Robotics Foundation sponsors our meeting facility at N2Robotics LLC located at the Village at Burlington Creek near Parkville. The Kansas City Robotics Foundation also underwrites much of the equipment we use to create and program LEGO Mindstorms robots. All other expenses for the team (team registration, game field components, competition registration, snacks, presentation materials, competition swag, etc.) are covered through membership dues and member fundraising.
We are a diverse community team, with members who are home-schooled and who attend public school. Katie and Roland were on the Astromechs FLL team together last year. Jacob was on a different FLL team last year and Audrey is new to FLL. All of our team members want to join an FTC team in the future.
Our team has come a long way because we didn’t know each other very well at the beginning. We’ve gotten know each other better, can work hard together and have fun together.
Short description (an abstract) of our Project
Problem: Humans eventually want to put a colony on Mars and water is essential for life. However, water is heavy and it would be difficult and expensive to carry to Mars the water necessary to support even a small colony. How do we supply the water needed to support humans on Mars?
Solution: We learned about existing ice on Mars and proposed a solution in which the ice could be melted and filtered for use by Martian colonists and to grow plants to feed the colonists. Because the nutrients in the Mars soil are likely not the same as those on Earth, growing food with hydroponics and aquaponics seemed like a great way to solve this additional problem. We learned about hydroponics and grew some plants of our own. We designed a Mars habitat as well.
Sharing: We shared with our families, our school groups and home-school communities, and with some members of the FTC Team 3409 (also called the Astromechs). When we went to River Market Hydroponics in downtown Kansas City, we learned about hydroponics and aquaponics and shared about our project and the FLL program. When some of our team volunteered at an FTC meet, we shared our project with another FLL team who was also volunteered.
Facts about our robot
Max score we can achieve: 130
Favorite mission: Water Treatment with the toilet flush
Favorite feature: The Gyro Sensor and how it improves our driving
Types of sensors used: 1 gyro sensor, and 3 large motors
Other information: Our robot has three motors, two of them control the wheels and one controls our attachments. We have two attachments for all missions so we won’t have to waste time changing them during the robot run. The attachments on the arm can hold, push, and place. We also use a gyro sensor to increase our robot's location accuracy. The gyro sensor remembers the starting point of the robot and uses it as a point of reference. In the event that a wheel slips, the gyro sensor recognizes that the robot is off course and counteracts the change.