XPRIZE and Google Announce Winners of Annual STEM-Based Competition, “MOONBOTS”

Girl-Led Teams Dominate Google Lunar XPRIZE Competition for Kids

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, and Google
today announced the winners of the 2015 MOONBOTS Challenge, also
considered the “Google Lunar XPRIZE for Kids.” It is an international
competition that inspires the next generation of space explorers and
innovators by inviting kids ages 8-17 to design, create and program
their own lunar rover, based on a legend or theory that inspires
them about the moon.

Next month, the winning teams will embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime trip
to Japan to meet the official teams competing for a $30M Google Lunar
XPRIZE, a global competition to land a privately funded robot on the
moon.

For the first time since the inception of MOONBOTS in 2010, the majority
of the winning teams’ members are female — breaking stereotypes in the
typically male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM). The 2015 MOONBOTS winning teams, representing three
countries are:

  • Team
    GalacTECHs
    (Tustin, Calif.) comprised of two girls and two
    boys ages 8-11, who imagined a future where it’s common practice for
    people to vacation at a resort on the moon.
  • Linked
    Lunas
    (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) comprised of twin sisters
    Hadley and Delaney, age 9. Their mission is based on a historical tale
    and scientific theory that hits close to home – that the Earth once
    had “twin” moons that collided and merged into one.
  • Mecaliks
    (Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico) comprised of three girls ages
    9-12, who were inspired by Mayan cultural beliefs that time is
    measured by lunar phases.
  • Moonshot
    (Brooklyn, N.Y. and Naples, Italy) comprised of two boy
    cousins, ages 10 and 12, who live across the world from each other but
    share a similar interest in the moon and the way it brings people
    together – just as it does in their family.

“In addition to showing ingenuity and innovation in their robotic
building and programming, all four grand prize winners were creative and
imaginative in the way they interpreted their moon ‘tales,’” said Chanda
Gonzales, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “While each entry was
unique, they were all incredibly engaging and will provide inspiration
for kids all over the world.”

The winning teams will travel to Japan in October to meet up with the
Google Lunar XPRIZE teams who are gathering for an annual Team Summit in
Tokyo.

“By inspiring and encouraging today’s youth, MOONBOTS is paving the way
for the next generation of coders, innovators, space explorers and
dreamers,” said Yasemin Denari Southworth, brand marketing manager at
Google. “We are proud to build both boys’ and girls’ confidence by
supporting their imagination and creativity in a game of skill that’s
collaborative and educational. By doing so, we hope to eliminate some
environmental and social barriers that can block participation and
progress in STEM, especially among young girls.”

The student competition, which began in April, attracted 235 teams from
29 countries who entered phase one by submitting a written or video
entry about what inspires them about the moon. Teams are comprised of
2-4 members (ages 8-17) and one team captain at least 18 years old. A
panel of judges selected 30 teams to qualify for phase two, each of
which was provided one of three platform systems (LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3,
VEX IQ, MECCANO Meccanoid G15 KS) to build and program a unique
simulated robotic mission based on the moon tale they submitted in phase
one. In addition, they were asked to provide a demonstration to the
judges via live webcast and contribute to STEM education by sharing
their innovation with children and adults in their community.

Since 2010, MOONBOTS has challenged thousands of young people from
around the world. In addition to XPRIZE and Google, competition partners
include FIRST® LEGO® League, Cogmation Robotics, VEX Robotics Inc.,
Spin-Master Ltd., the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation
(RECF), GeekDad, GeekMom, Robomatter Incorporated and Dexter Industries.
More information, including the full list of finalists, can be found at moonbots.org.

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to
challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world
to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the
Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a
robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and
transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth. For more
information, visit lunar.xprize.org/.

Contacts

XPRIZE
Eric Desatnik, 310-741-4892
eric@xprize.org