Two ninth class students design robotic rover that can navigate on moon surface for Google Moonbots Challenge

Moon has held the imagination of mankind from time immemorial. But while most of us dream about the moon, two ninth class students from the city are busy designing a robotic rover that can navigate on a surface similar to the moonscape, all by itself.

Tirumala Sashank from FITJEE World School and Akella Karteek from Narayana Olympiad School have made a robot that could avoid obstructions and navigate through a maze of simulated landscape. The duo teamed up to form ‘Atomic-Robot’ team and are taking part in the Google Moonbots Challenge-2012.

“The robot, made of Lego Mindstorms NXT kit, can move around any surface using a programme called ‘Wall Follower’. We are using three Ultra Sonic sensors and a temperature sensor in this robot to achieve this,” Karteek, the programmer of the team, said. Going ahead of their school syllabus, the duo has also used Differential Calculus to derive the values for the Wall Follower programme because of which the robot can navigate through a tough terrain.

Teams participating in the Google Moonbots Challenge have to create a rover which can navigate itself without any external help or control, Sashank, robot’s designer said.

“I was always interested in the lunar missions and was following the Google Lunar X PRIZE website regularly. But when Moonbots challenge came up we just signed up for it,” he said.

The team has already completed the first phase of the challenge, in August, where they had to present the design of moon’s landscape and the mission of their robot.

In the second phase, they have to upload a video of the robot fulfilling its tasks, like going through the labyrinth and picking up interesting items from the crater models. The team’s progress can be followed at ‘www.moonbots.org/teams/atomic-robot’.