NOTE TO EDITORS: You are invited to attend the Northern California
FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2002
from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST at the San Jose City College gym located
at 2100 Moorepark Ave., San Jose, Calif. Admission and parking at the
college are free.

A daunting challenge awaits 500 northern California students and
their miniature robots on Jan. 12, 2002, at San Jose City College.

Students must use their expertise and imagination to respond to the
following transmission: Massive Arctic storm approaching. Stop.
Expedition Arctic Impact ordered to evacuate. Stop. Renowned
scientists trapped by storm. Stop. Millions in equipment and valuable
research in peril. Stop. Request immediate assistance. The
contestants, ages 9-14, will compete to save the imaginary Arctic
expedition by programming their robots to perform various missions
within a 2-minute time limit.

“The purpose of this challenge is to enhance student awareness in
science and engineering. We often find that students participating in
these programs show great improvement in their science and math
courses,” said Hank Schwoob, team mentor and volunteer coordinator,
from NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “I
knew this was going to be big when out of 600 students in my
daughter’s school, 60 are participating.”

The competitors’ Lego robots will be scored on their ability to:
raise three flags, launch a weather balloon, raise a weather tower,
get a medicine barrel, deliver a research instrument, retrieve an ice
core, move a storage hut away from cracking ice, deliver 10 fuel
barrels, and rescue three scientists.

Teams have eight weeks to build their robots from identical kits
received from the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science
and Technology) organization that sponsors robotics competitions
across the country. Each year the competition focuses on a
scientific or technological problem facing the world today. This
year’s challenge is global warming.

The FIRST Lego League is a collaborative effort between FIRST, the
NASA Robotics Education Project managed by NASA Ames and industry

Further information about the FIRST Lego League is on the Internet at:

More Details about the NASA Robotics Education Project are on the Internet at: