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Build a Mindstorm Robot to Fly to ISS 76

Posted by michael
from the fleidermaus dept.
CodingFrenzy writes: "If you're over 18 and living in Germany, Switzerland or Austria (thats all in Europe) you can submit your best Mindstorm based Robot to a competition to fly to the ISS (this link in German). Choose any design you want: cleaning windows, space-ballet, etc. Include a gravity generator and you might even be able to use those wheels. Pack it into fur and give them a space-pet. What the heck, there's enough junk in space already..." If you win, let us know, we'll send you a t-shirt. :)
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Build a Mindstorm Robot to Fly to ISS

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  • A T-shirt? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TOTKChief (210168) on Monday August 13, 2001 @07:25AM (#2117273) Homepage

    Just a T-shirt? I can see it:

    I built this kickass Mindstorm robot that flew on ISS, and all I got was this lousy /. T-shirt!
    • And a trip to the control center in Moscow. If you had to chose, what would you take?
      • by TOTKChief (210168) on Monday August 13, 2001 @08:43AM (#2138151) Homepage
        And a trip to the control center in Moscow. If you had to chose, what would you take?

        Okay, I'm biased. I do design and systems work on stuff that actually does fly on ISS, so this doesn't nearly appeal to me. But I wouldn't go to Moscow Control to save my life. They might decide that, as an undergraduate, I work cheaper than most cosmonauts--"Slap this boy in a Soyuz, Vanya; we'll have a bake sale to pay his salary while he's up there!"

        • "Slap this boy in a Soyuz, Vanya; we'll have a bake sale to pay his salary while he's up there!"

          I'm pretty sure quite a lot of the slashdotters would gladly go there for free...

          Cheers, Ulli

          • I'm pretty sure quite a lot of the slashdotters would gladly go there for free...

            Hell, I will go up there for free. As long as they bring me down, too.

  • You know, fight off that space fungi.

    Damned Dirty Space Fungi

    tcd004

  • If you read on the german article, the winner also gets to fly to Moscow in November. Then visit the
    Mission control room from where the robot is to be used.

    I've never been to a russian mission control room, but it's probably an interesting experience ;-)
  • Fly to ISS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr_Cheeks (110261) on Monday August 13, 2001 @07:53AM (#2119754) Homepage Journal
    I dunno. I mean, that's gonna take an awful lot of batteries, and AFAIK Lego don't make any launch kits. And I wouldn't have thought the little connector-bumps (do they have a technical name?) would be all that aerodynamic. And what if you want it back - re-entry's going to be a bitch on the plastic.
    • IIRC it's called a 'stud'.
    • Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think the little nubly things (we really need a word... nublets?) would be quite aerodynamic. Like the dimples in a golf ball, they would do some fancy fluid dynamic whiz-bangs and actually make the whatsit fly better. No?
  • You should be doing more important stuff than playing with Legos.
  • Haha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tachys (445363)

    Germany, Switzerland or Austria (thats all in Europe)

    I just find it funny the fact you had to point that out

    • Re:Haha (Score:2, Interesting)

      by larkost (79011)
      As a former exchange student to Austria from the USA, I can vouch for the fact that few Americans know the difference between Austria (small mountainous European country) and Australia (large continent sized country in the southern hemisphere). Before I left many of my (reasonably intelligent) friends honestly asked if I would bring them back pictures of Kangaroos...

      So... I came back with a t-shirt saying: "There are no Kangaroos in Austria". Whenever I wear it I get random people telling me that there, "are too Kangaroos in Australia". They usually have to read the shirt three or four times to see their mistake...
    • As opposed to Switzerland [mapquest.com] in Oregon, Germany [mapquest.com] in Georgia (thats all in the USA). Tim
    • parochial (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrBlond (141708)
      > (thats all in Europe)

      ObSatireWire: NetNarrow [satirewire.com], the note at the end is even funnier than the article.

      Some stories told by travel agents:

      • A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"
      • I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Cape Town is in South Africa." her response....click.
      • A man called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."
      • I got a call from a man who asked, "is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." He said "but they look so close on the map."
      • A nice lady just called. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am. I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!
      • A woman called and said, " I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola on one of those computer planes." I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said, "Yea, whatever."
      • A business man called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa. "Oh no I don't, I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked, and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express card."

      A common answer to folk from the USA saying that we are rude to them is: "We're not rude to people from the USA, we're rude to imbeciles." There's a difference between someone who doesn't know, and someone too stupid to learn.

      I think the reason why the "morons from the USA" meme is so prevalent, is because of their president, their political and social conservatism, and the fact that a lot of them can afford to travel abroad, and countless AOLers and WebTVers have access the 'net. If anything I'd say that the USA has some of the most brilliant and amazing people, but the tourists and politicians unfortunately influence thought about USA folk more.

      • I think the reason why the "morons from the USA" meme is so prevalent, is because of their president, their political and social conservatism, and the fact that a lot of them can afford to travel abroad, and countless AOLers and WebTVers have access the 'net.

        Ironically, it's the "political and social conservatism" that provides that prosperity, and fosters "brilliant and amazing people".

      • > * I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in
        > Massachusetts, Cape Town is in South Africa." her
        > response....click.

        Hehe, how about the Simpsons episode where Homer goes to space:

        Welcome to Cape Canaveral
        Formerly Cape Kennedy
        Formerly Cape Arbuckle

        Big rocket go now!

    • A touch cynical, I agree. But in my experience (N>50), these three countries have caused the stereotypical responses from non-Europeans: Germany - East or West ? - So, you're from Skandinavia. Real high taxes there I hear. - Hey, no worries mate!
    • A better reading of this (for Americans) might be: you have to live in Germany, Switzerland, or Austria, not some other place in Europe.

      Interesting that no one else read it this way...

      This is pretty clear from the rules:

      Wer kann teilnehmen?
      Jeder über 18 Jahre mit Wohnsitz in Deutschland, Österreich oder Schweiz.
  • Sending a Mindstorms robot to the ISS should be fun and inspirational -- but I'd like to take the idea a step further.

    I've often wondered if/how the ISS crew will be able to reconfigure their own environment. Almost anywhere else, if you're a long way from home/Radio Shack/Home Depot and might need to build stuff for yourself, you'd want to have a machine shop ... but that's probably not a realistic possibility up there. So why shouldn't the ISS be stocked with enough Legos and K'nex to build whatever the residents need?

    You can never have too many Legos.

    • >Sending a Mindstorms robot to the ISS should be fun and inspirational -- but I'd like to take the idea a step further.

      I agree 100% with the first half, but I'm not sure about taking it a step further, because I don't tkink that Legos and Knex are space grade material.
      For example, try using normal Legos to create a watertight container. I challenge you (only normal Lego bricks allowed, and no use of any other materials).

      So, IMHO, Legos can be usefull for experiments involving mechanics and movement in zero G, but not for construction in or on the ISS.
  • by CSC (31551)
    OK, so the poster explains things to us:

    ...and living in Germany, Switzerland or Austria
    (thats all in Europe)

    ...but where is ISS ? He doesn't say!

    What's an average slashdotter to do? Help!

    • but where is ISS ? He doesn't say!

      Waaaay up in the sky. You may also know it as the International Space Station.
      • Waaaay up in the sky. You may also know it as the International Space Station.

        Thanks. Er... ahem... but... where is, uh, Europe? and the sky?

        (I can't believe you took my post seriously...)

        • by camusflage (65105)
          (I can't believe you took my post seriously...)

          You'd be surprised.. I posted to the article about the world's top computers, noting that the top four are at .mil installations doing "energy research", and cracked that maybe they're working on 90 MPG engines or cold fusion, and two people let me know that nuclear simulations are energy research too. Sadly, one thing this medium doesn't convey so well is the subtleties of sarcasm, something which all true geeks are quite well-versed in.
          • (I can't believe you took my post seriously...)
            You'd be surprised.. I posted to the article about the world's top computers, noting that the top four are at .mil installations doing "energy research", and cracked that maybe they're working on 90 MPG engines or cold fusion, and two people let me know that nuclear simulations are energy research too. Sadly, one thing this medium doesn't convey so well is the subtleties of sarcasm, something which all true geeks are quite well-versed in.

            (I am one of those "two people")

            The problem is that with all the idiots around here, unless you're being blatantly sarcastic, you tend to blend in with the people who just don't get it. In text, sarcasm is barely distinguishable from stupidity.

            And yes, I've seen enough idiotic posts here to be able to assume that a person who claims to think government "energy research" is about cold fusion may actually believe it. In asking where the ISS is located, CSC is a bit more obvious.

            (What's an average nitpicker to do? Help!)

    • Before you ask, yes I got the joke. And have an answer. It's right here [nasa.gov]
  • New Arm (Score:2, Funny)

    by msheppard (150231)
    This is a clever ploy to have an open source (and open-hardware!) replacement for the canada-arm.
  • Oops (Score:2, Funny)

    by BradleyUffner (103496)
    When I first read the headline I thought it said "Build a Mindstorm Robot to Fly the ISS". What a difference one word makes. That's also an awful lot of trust to put into a little pile of plastic.
  • by colnago (91472) on Monday August 13, 2001 @10:06AM (#2132116) Homepage
    Oh...I'm sorry...I thought it said build a robot to administer IIS.
  • by Khopesh (112447)
    Apparently this is NOT a contest to "Build a Mindstorm Robot to Fly to the ISS" ... since building a real spaceship out of legos is a LOT more difficult.
  • "If you're over 18 and living in Germany, Switzerland or Austria (thats all in Europe) you can submit your best Mindstorm based Robot to a competition to fly to the ISS"

    I didn't know lego made a rocket module. Or do you just give it really big props+wings and hope for the best? Also, where do I get my orbital navigation and tracking update? Don't want my lego to just shoot off into outer space...
    • Glad to see I'm not the only one confused by it not being worded "to be flown to the ISS".

      Unless of course by being in the Alps you're already high enough up not to have to worry about achieving orbital velocity.

  • Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by gamgee5273 (410326)
    They're going to have those spiffy orb-camera-hover-bots [cnn.com] (the Personal Satellite Assistant). How is a Mindstorms developer, even one programming in NQC or another of the other "advanced" Mindstorms languages, going to be able to impress anyone who has worked with the ISS thus far?

    Plus, how are the Russians going to get the infrared remote control to work from that far away?

  • by shorti9 (307602) on Monday August 13, 2001 @07:38AM (#2141554)
    OK, this has inspired me to seek out the craziest, zaniest, wildest homebrew stuff made out of these. We all know about Lego Machine Guns [slashdot.org], but how about a Homemade Ballpoint Plotter [sentex.net]?

    with that in mind, what have you folks managed with legos?

  • New mantra (Score:5, Funny)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Monday August 13, 2001 @08:46AM (#2143397)
    Germany, Switzerland or Austria (thats all in Europe)

    News for nerds. Stuff that matters. Geography for geeks.

    Now if we could just teach the /. boys proofreading skills, we'd almost be scholarly.

    • Cute, but I don't think he meant "they're all in Europe", I think he meant "that's all".

      And people think I'm picky when I can't answer a question like "How long is 250k?".

    • Germany, Switzerland or Austria (thats all in Europe)

      News for nerds. Stuff that matters. Geography for geeks.

      I assumed they meant that only Germany, Switzerland and Austria were the only countries eligible for the contest...
  • Please somebody tell me that Americans don't *really* need it pointing out that that Germany, Switzerland and Austria are in Europe?

    I always assumed it was a caricature...
  • by Wonko42 (29194)
    Well guys, I won. Can you send the t-shirt via FedEx Next Day? Thanks.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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