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SpaceVidcast 3.22

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Announcer: In 1969, a group of Astronauts changed the world. They walked on the moon. Neil Armstrong: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Announcer: In 1972, our journey ended. We've never been back. 2010 begins a year of change. Private companies are working on next-generation space ships, governments are looking to go back to the moon and on to Mars. It's time to look up and dream again. It's time to push humans into the cosmos. It's time to educate and engage the planet. It's time for SpaceVidcast! ♫ SpaceVidcast Intro Music ♫ Benjamin Higginbotham: Welcome to SpaceVidcast 3.22 for Friday, July 2nd 2010. My name is Benjamin Higginbotham and with me as always is the beautiful, lovely, wonderful, and talented Cariann Higginbotham and WE HAVE GOT AN ACTION PACKED EPICSODE for you tonight. I was yelling for no good reason. You know what I was doing? I was testing out ... Cariann: I was going to say you must have been testing the audio. Ben: I was testing the new compressors to see if we can actually yell now without blowing stuff up. Thank you very much Porkchop for making that happen. Yeah I feel like a terrible human being (for not remembering Porkchop). We have got a lot of stuff going on here. We have got team Tater Tot in studio, oh yeah, in the house and they'll be talking to us after the break about the MoonBots competition. In addition, today alone, we had 1000 new subscribers to our Roku channel! Cariann: Why? Ben: Because I guess they like space! I have no idea. If you don't know what that is, you can go to and you can get a Roku box. It's a little $99 box that you plug into your HDTV and from there you can just subscribe to our channel. You plug it in, you get an internet connection, you go to settings, and then you just pop on over to channels and download the SpaceVidcast channel. It's free, I mean once you have the $99 box, it's free, it's really easy to use, and once you're in there, make sure that you rate the channel with 5 stars. Cariann: Well duh! Ben: Yeah, you don't want to do like 3 or 4 stars. So there you go. Just drop into the channel store, we've got an awesome logo. Just click add and boom, you're done. And yeah, it's pretty awesome. Cariann: It is pretty awesome. Actually there is another NASA channel, but ours is way cooler. Ben: Ours is way cooler. In addition to that ... Cariann: Yes. Ben: We've got Yuri's night coming up. Cariann: Yes! In April. Ben: Exactly, Yuri's Night 2011. We're targeting 1,000 independent parties across the planet! And on all the continents and in space. You know as many different locations as are humanly possible. We're going to be doing the global webcast again and it's pretty awesome. There you can see it at the bottom of your screen. We're 284 days away and that's the actual countdown to the launch of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Cariann: Right, and this is a really really big one because he launched in 1961 so this is huge. And this is also the anniversary of when the Yuri's Night parties were started, which was in 2001. If I remember correctly. Ben: And it's the anniversary of the first STS mission with space shuttle ... Cariann: Wow, we are totally on our game right now. Yes, Columbia in 1981. Ben: Geez, I can't believe I forgot that. Cariann: Ok, so we have 1961, 1981 ... Ben: The chat room is yelling at me. I'm glad it's not on the screen right now, because I am in trouble! Cariann: ... 2001, so 2011 is huge and yeah, 1000 parties. Honestly, as much as I hate myself and I'm kicking myself for saying this, please make us be on for 24 hours straight. Ben: Ouch, you're going to regret that. Cariann: I know, I'm very much sometimes. Ben: 1000 parties. Here's the deal: you guys reach 1000 parties, 1000 registered parties, we will be on the air with the global webcast for a full 24 hours straight. That's the deal. Cariann: Lots of coffee. Ben: So that's 284 days away or something like that. Much closer in the timeline. Only about 20 some odd days away we've got the NewSpace conference coming up at the end of this month. So 21 days away, 22 hours, 38 minutes, and 12 seconds. Yeah, assuming you're watching this live. If you're watching this on demand ignore the timer there. Cariann: Don't look at that part but still hit the QR code. Ben: Absolutely, so the NewSpace conference is an awesome conference about next-generation space travel. And we'll be attempting to webcast that and at the very least we'll be recording it, depending on bandwidth. So, you guys know how this all goes. Cariann: Well, we're in Silicon Valley at the Domain hotel. If they don't have enough bandwidth I just don't even think we should be there. Ben: Well it could be that bandwidth is freaking expensive also. Cariann: Well, whatever. Ben: On that note, I think it's time to start out with a little bit 'O space news. You know the big item that everyone is a-buzz with is that the space shuttle launch dates have slipped. And the final space shuttle mission, the actual final as of right now, has slipped into 2011. And so STS-134 will no longer be this year. It's going to be, what is it, February of next year? Cariann: Yup. And then STS-133, which is the final mission for space shuttle Discovery, that has slipped to November 1st of this year and um, it is what it is, we all saw that coming. A lot of people said this is going to happen, but it is official official now. They are NO EARLIER THAN these dates. That doesn't mean they're going to launch on these dates. That means that they will not launch prior to November 1st for STS-133 and February 26th 2011 for STS-134 with space shuttle Endeavour. There is still possibly an STS-135 with space shuttle Atlantis or even possibly a different space shuttle, although from what I hear the likely candidate is Atlantis for later in the year. That would be in the June-July time-frame of 2011. Which could possibly be the final final mission of the space shuttle program. Cariann: The final final final final final mission. Ben: Aw, come on as space geeks know, this stuff slides back and time-lines get screwed up. It is what it is. So, that's the big news coming out. Also coming out from NASA is their new Moon Base Alpha app. Cariann: I'm really excited about this personally. Ben: All right, tell me about it. Cariann: Well ok, so this has kind of been a long time coming. And there has been the NASA Edge variation of it. But, it is a game slash educational kind of app. Ben: Geducational? No? Cariann: It's game-ucational? (random mumbling / word creation) All right, anyway so it's just very very cool. We've got the video for it don't we? Ben: Yeah yeah, here take a peek. Cariann: So that's coming out in the next couple of days. Ben: Hold on, I'm just searching my Android phone for the game ... oh. Cariann: I believe it's July 6th. You just had to get that in there didn't you? Ben: Yup. Cariann: But it should be fun and you can play it on my phone! Ben: Um, i-devices only. Cariann: Anyhow, but no, it's fun and interesting that NASA is reaching out in these different ways. Ben: Oh no, I've gotta give them kudos for that. You've got this wildly popular app store through Apple and there are insane crazy popular i-devices and this is just another means to get in the hearts and minds of the American population or even the worldwide population, although the ones they really care about are Americans because they want your money. Exactly right, so they've got to keep it going and keep the momentum behind NASA. Cariann: Keeping it real. Ben: Keeping it real ... Cariann: ... as it were. Ben: Oh wow, really? (Cariann laughs) And finally we've got a Google Lunar X-Prize ... I figure since we're going to do the MoonBots update, we might as well do a GLXP update as well and they've got this nifty little video that shows the hardware updates for the Google Lunar X-Prize rovers. Now a reminder for anyone who doesn't know, the Google Lunar X-Prize is a prize mission to go to the moon, to send your rovers to the moon, and then there are different tasks you need to accomplish on the moon such as roving around, sending back high definition video in real time, stuff like that and there are extra prizes you can get for finding existing landing sites and sending video of that back. So here's a quick update from the Google Lunar X-Prize. Ben: I want to thank not just the Google Lunar X-Prize for having that video online but for all the teams for making the progress of their mission available so we can see it because we're all sitting here with bated breath. Wanting to see the latest updates and see what's going on inside of their teams because this is what space geeks love! This is the future of space travel and we want to see their cool little robots doing robotic-type things. Cariann: My favorite is the one with the light-up liquid. Ben: I know, it looks like a canister of something that if you drop, everyone on the planet will die. Cariann: Yeah. Ben: Like it opens up and a pathogen is released and all of a sudden ... Right? Is that not ... that's what it looks like, I swear. So yeah, thank you to GLXP and all the teams for making that happen. I'm excited to see some of those robots actually on our moon and competing to win a very large prize. It's a $30 million total prize I believe. So when we come back, speaking of GLXP, Team Tater Tot of the MoonBots competition! Stay with us. We'll be right back! ♫ Epic music ♫ Announcer: Exploration: It's driven us around the world across vast oceans and even into space. John F. Kennedy: "We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained." Announcer: Explorers like Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, space shuttle astronauts like Sally Ride. Working to make the impossible possible. Projects like Apollo, the International Space Station, robotic missions to all the planets in the solar system, and back here on Earth, developing incredible technologies like the internet. When we explore we find our future, when you explore, you'll find your future too. We've been to the moon, 12 people have walked there, but that's only the beginning. We landed on the moon with primitive technology. A simple cell phone today has more power. How will you use that power? One day it will be easy for you to go into space in a new generation of space ships. You may even go to Mars to set up a base! Maybe one of you will venture to the red planet and look back at the Earth. Or live and work in a base on the Moon! Or go to other places beyond your wildest imagination. You'll use technology that hasn't even been invented yet. Find solutions that we can't comprehend right now. And look at math and science in new ways. The fact is, anything is possible. You decide the future. (Cariann laughs) Ben: I moved the camera at the last minute! I'm back. Cariann: Yeah! Ok, so as you can see we obviously have some in-house guests. (everyone waves and laughs) This is team Tater Tot from the MoonBots competition and the reason that we were talking about a connection between the Google Lunar X-Prize and MoonBots is because the MoonBots challenge, I keep calling it a competition, but the MoonBots challenge is like the Google Lunar X-Prize, but with LEGOs. Right? Tater Tots: Yeah. Cariann: All right! Awesome, and then do people even understand what the Google Lunar X-Prize is or do you have to back up and ... Tater Tots: Yeah, we have to explain that too. Cariann: Just checking. (laughter) Ryan: They hear "Google" and they're like, "I go to that website." (Laughter) Cariann: Ok, so tell me how Team Tater Tot came together in the first place. Ryan: Well, many of you might have heard of what's called the FIRST Robotics competition. It's a high school robotics competition where teams at schools build robots and compete with them on a national and international scale. Well, this season was over and at the global competition for FIRST, they showed off MoonBots to us. And just a couple of the team members and one extra person decided to get together one of these teams. Most of us are really interested in space and we've been playing with LEGOs, we may still be playing with LEGOs. And we just thought it sounded like something that would be fun to do. Ben: But what is a MoonBot? Ryan: Um, a robot for the moon, I guess you could say simply. The whole idea of the competition was to design and eventually build model robots with the LEGO Mindstorms system, much like the robots that are hoped to be sent to the moon for the Google Lunar X-Prize. Ben: Now you guys, you're called Team Tater Tot or T-cubed. Cariann: I still like triple-T. Ben: Triple-T? Ok, where did that name come from? Michael: It was kind of an odd story. We actually started out in my basement and were all trying to think of a name. And we wanted to do something that was genuinely Minnesotan. Ben: Ya know, ya betcha dere! (laughter) Michael: So the only thing we could think of was tater tot casserole. So then we just decided to call ourselves Team Tater Tot. Ben: We should call ourselves lutefisk. Now we've got, it's not your actual logo, but we've got a picture of an astronaut-type LEGO guy ... Cariann: It is basically their logo. Ben: Which is basically their logo, but not quite ... Michael: We did a little editing, but it's our logo. Ben: Yeah, so check this out, this is ... is there a story behind just throwing the astronaut guy inside of some tater tots? Or you're like, you know, here's what we're going to do for our logo? Tater Tots: Yeah. (laughter) Cariann: I love it, I think that's awesome and that was the funny thing I was looking at because the announcement of all the different teams just recently came out and I was looking through all the different names and there was one with bacon in it and I was like, "oh, that sounds kind of cool" and it was like Team Tater Tot and I'm like, "that's kinda sounds Minnesotan, oh they're from Minnesota, oh ok!" Ben: You know, we should combine the bacon team and the tater tot team because that just sounds delicious. (excitement from Team Tater Tot) Exactly. Cariann: That might be too much! (laughter) Ben: So what's each of you ... I mean obviously you guys like to tinker and play and you're scientists in training, but what got each one of you kind of wanting to do this thing? Drew: Um, we were in class one day and I think Campos here and Michael were talking about it and I was like, "what are you guys talking about?" And then they started explaining this competition and I was like, "Wow, that sounds really cool!" And so I'm like, "Can I join you guys? Is there a team and stuff?" And they were like, "Sure! Let's do this!" And then John came on and yeah. Michael: I think the original thing was that we started it on Google Buzz. We all use Google Reader and so ... Ben: You're 4 of the 5 people that are on Buzz. (laughter) I'm sorry I interrupted. Michael: But it just all spawned from there. We just all started commenting on that one post. "We should do this!" "Let's do it!" And so we just kind of got together in my basement and got it all together. Cariann: That's awesome. And how many days ... Ben: Well I want to keep going down the line. What got you going for the ... John: It was something to do really. It was really something kind of neat and I thought "why not?" So we did! Ben: And then we kind of got your answer in the beginning but ... Ryan: I was going to say, mine's a little bit more broad. I've just always been really interested in space and it's kind of what I want to do with my life and I was like "Hey, here's an opportunity to mix space and LEGOs, my two loves." How could I pass this up? Cariann: We need to get these guys internships with Masten-Space. Ben: Or LEGO. Cariann: No, I think Masten. Ben: Whatever. (laughter) Michael: I'll take one or the other. Cariann: Right. I had a chance to speak with Masten ... not to speak about myself, I apologize, but ... I had a chance to speak with Masten at South by Southwest and we passed by this pile of LEGOs in the hallway, and he was like "this is where we're going to sit for a while." And he just dove in. And you guys are totally reminding me of that! (laughter) That's awesome. Ben: So do you all want ... what do you want to do after this? Are you all kind of scientists in training, rocket scientists in training? Do you look up to organizations like NASA or do you think those guys are old school and I want to go to a Masten-Space, I want to go to a Virgin Galactic? What do you guys want to do 5 ... I realize you're all high schoolers right? Tater Tots: We just graduated. Ben: Alright so you know, you're not exactly sitting here going, "I'm going to do this when I'm 50." But, you know, what are you thinking you're going to do with your life? Michael: Well, we'll start with where we're going to college and what we're going to be doing. So I'm going to Berkley in California, UC-Berkley, and I'm going to major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Drew: I'm going to Marquette in Milwaukee and I'm majoring in Civil Engineering, but I might transfer to Physics. (laughter) Cariann: They're so related. Drew: I know, right? John: I'm headed to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and I'm going to be majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Ben: Go gophers! Ryan: I'm going to be going to the Illinois Institute of Technology ... Ben: I'm so sorry. Ryan (astonished): I think I'm just going to walk out now. I'm sorry guys. (laughter) Cariann: Sad! Ryan: And I'm going to be majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Ben: Oh, so there you go, absolutely. Cariann: Very nice. Ben: So, where are you guys at right now? I think we've got some drawings of the basic bot. Would we call this a moonbot still? I suppose we would because ... So I think we've got some basic drawings. Why don't we take a peek at what you've got because you don't have anything built just yet. Tater Tots: No, not yet. Ben: So what are we looking at here? Ryan: Well, this is the bottom of our moonbot. It's mainly highlighting our drive train system. We thought it was really important that when you're maneuvering on the moon, there's a lot of different terrain, there's going to be a lot of dusty areas, there's going to be rocky areas, so it's important we have something that will give us a lot of traction and a lot of suspension systems so we can handle with all of that. John: That's our camera and I don't know if you call it a crane? Hook assembly. Lifter, all right. And we just wanted the camera at an angle so we could see where we're going and then the lift we wanted hooked so we could actually loop it around or get something to hold it in a loop so it wouldn't slide back off when we have to pick something else up. Drew: You can also see the mount for the camera we're going to use because we're supposed to livestream the competition that we do. We're actually going to put a Droid on there and do UStream. Ben: Sweet! Drew: Yeah! Ryan: Android! Gotta get that in there. John: So this is just another view of our undercarriage and our lifter motor. We have one motor for the lifter and then one motor for the 4 outer wheels and the two inner wheels don't have any motors. We thought that it was important to have those for stability because there are humps that you go over and that would help with stability. And then the four motors to give it a lot of traction and speed because this is a timed event. You can also see in this view that there is a suspension system to help with obstacles. Ryan: Those are the yellow and black pieces. They're spring-loaded inside so if we ever come down hard we'll be ok. Cariann: Nice. Ben: Is it enclosed because you guys had mentioned dust? What happens if a bunch of dust or, let's say we were on the moon and there was simulated regolith or something like that. Would it get in there and jam up the gears or what would happen if you lost one of the motors? Drew: There actually is simulated regolith in this competition. Ben: Well there you go. Michael: They're small LEGO pieces and I don't think they're going to get stuck in there. (laughter) Drew: But if they do, that's another issue. Ryan: That was part of the design challenge. We actually decided to do 4 motors. One of the limitations was that we could only have 3 signals sent to motors. So we actually have to split two of the signals to the drive motors. So if we ever actually lose one, we intend to actually program it in to just go into neutral and then we'll have the secondary motor. Ben: So you could lose a motor and continue to operate without losing the competition essentially? Ryan: Right. Ben: Now, have you guys thought about joining one of the official Lunar X-Prize teams when you're done with your Moon Bots challenge? Because this is, if I may be frank, this looks just about as complex as some of the rovers they're designing. I mean this, except almost more complex because you're working with LEGOs right? I mean they can bend the metal and whatever they need to their whim. You have little square blocks you're working with. Ryan: Um, I've never thought of something like that. That would be really cool! Ben: So GLXP teams, because I know you're watching right now, here you go. Ryan: There you go, I'd love to join! Cariann: That is awesome, I can just see team Frednet right now: "We're scrapping everything and just going to LEGOs!" (laughter) Ok, so talk about the competition itself just a little bit because I know it is essentially the Google Lunar X-Prize, but in LEGOs, but you know yours is a timed event. Obviously the GLXP is timed up till 2014, so tell me a little bit about ... I think we've got some pictures of the course, did you put those in there? Ben: Nope. Cariann: Awesome! Ben: We have pictures of the course? Cariann: Yes, I put them in the DropBox but I guess it doesn't matter now. So, go ahead and go through the course itself. Michael: Well, the course is a 7 and a half by 7 and a half square field. Yeah, in feet. And there are a couple of little simulated craters that have helium and H2O. (laughter) Drew: They're just these little loops with kind of a stick at the bottom. So that's why we have the two hooks so we can spear them. Michael: But the competition is we have 3 minutes to do a variety of challenges. The main thing is to collect the water and the helium three. And we also have to sit on the, what's it called again? Ryan: It's like a charging station. Michael: Yeah, the peak of eternal light. We also have to take a picture of a historic landmark, so it's just a picture and we have to find a way to go take a picture of it. Um, and then we have to return to our base. Cariann: All in three minutes. Ben: You want to see my super powers? Here you go. Boom. Michael: There we go, yeah that's the field. So as you can see in here the blue ones are the water and the yellow ones that are kind of harder to see are the helium 3. The peak of eternal light is in the upper right-hand corner and the historic landmark is just on the side. Ben: That just sounds epic doesn't it? (laughter) Ryan: And then down in the lower left-hand corner you can kind of see this little gray thing. It's kind of blocked by the chat, but that's our landing point. That's where the robot starts and we have to drive down from our landing mechanism before we can move around on the moo Ben: So you're going to end on our chat. It's going to circle around the screen until it comes to the chat room.

Video Details

Duration: 45 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Director: Adam Jochum
Views: 72
Posted by: spacevidcaster on Jul 3, 2010

In the news: the final Space Shuttle mission has been pushed back to 2011, NASA is releasing a new game that looks pretty awesome and a Google Lunar X PRIZE team update.Joining us live in studio is MoonBot challenger Team Tater Tot. We talk about what the MoonBots challenge is, how they got involved and where they want to the the future of space flight to go.

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