"Moon Odyssey" LEGO Education: we realize the Russian space program

    The tractor delivered the Angara rocket to the launch pad and set it in a horizontal position. A special crane-lift connected it with a service mast and brought it to the position for take-off. The lunar module was launched into lunar orbit and docked with the Federation ship. Then they were put on the surface of the Earth satellite. A crater nearby just in case investigated for the presence of ice.

    This is not the start of the domestic blockbuster. These are project scenarios for the “Moon Odyssey” training kit, which introduces students in grades 5–9 to the Russian program for the conquest of near space. And it introduces not as kids in a sandbox, but through programming and full automation using MINDSTORMS EV3 and custom elements.

    The Moon Odyssey kit includes basic LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 kits with chargers, thematic and training mats for projects, teaching aids with 8 thematic and 12 training missions, as well as an additional set of 1334 parts — the booster is assembled with it The Angara, the launch pad for its launch, the Federation ship, the lunar rover, the lunar module, antennas and even a crater.

    Collected all the equipment at one of the stages of work. On the left in the box is the MINDSTORMS EV3, in the middle is the assembled Angara rocket and unassembled additional elements of the manual. On the right is a partially assembled launch pad. In the white box there are a lot of additional details, the lunar crater is next. Completes the composition tube with cards.

    Spread the black box. In the photo one of the modules EV3 with a bunch of interesting things.

    One of two maps for projects

    On the basis of the "Moon Odyssey" a curriculum was developed from 12 missions and 8 thematic projects for 72 academic hours. The links are full versions of materials. They include instructions, interesting historical, technical descriptions, and even small tests - so on one assembly everything does not end, the training turns out to be comprehensive. Almost every mission has several solutions - the designer will allow several teams of schoolchildren to come up with their own options.

    For example, we need to raise the Angara rocket delivered to the launch pad in a vertical position. The most effective way to direct the robot to the launch pad and raise the "Angar" using a special manipulator. The rocket on the platform rises and falls with the help of a large gear. You can do it with your hands, but you can manipulate the robot. And this is one of the tasks for schoolchildren - to design such a robot that can lift the rocket in an upright position. A gyro mounted on a rocket can be used to stop its rise in time. Or you can experimentally calculate that the manipulator must make exactly 50 turns for the Angara installation at the start, and program the robot for these 50 turns.

    Alternatively, you can connect an engine designed to move the wheel of the robot directly to the launch pad and perform the same manipulation in a different way.

    Most problems are solved on two training cards. One of them is designed to work with color fields and simulate the flight of an artificial Earth satellite. An image of our planet and a degree scale are applied to a field measuring 120 x 120 cm.

    "Moon Odyssey" introduces the history of the first artificial satellite of the Earth, the first man (and in general a living being) in space, talks about a circular and elliptical orbit, about satellite navigation. In the first training mission it will be necessary to assemble a moon rover based on MINDSTORMS EV3. About him a little lower. In addition, you can collect another, old-school lunar rover - it poses well against the background of craters.

    At this stage of construction, based on the materials of the “Moon Odyssey”, pupils are told about the significance of manipulators. Why are they even needed, how they help in space, how the moon rover uses them. MINDSTORMS EV3 programming does not start immediately, but it still takes up most of the course.

    The Federation is a reusable manned spacecraft that will replace the Soyuz and Progress. According to one of the scenarios, it will need to be put into orbit.

    The basic model, which performs the role of a lunar rover, is based on the MINDSTORMS EV3 programmable module. Eight ports allow you to connect engines and various sensors to it. The purpose of the first stage is to assemble the moon rover: a robot that relies on two wheels with independent motors and a metal ball. This support scheme provides greater mobility - in addition to turns and movement, this lunar rover can spin in place.

    The set of parts also includes various sensors - a gyroscope, a color sensor, distances, and so on. They allow you to program the work of the robot according to scenarios depending on environmental conditions. For example, there are colored squares in the corners of one training field: a robot can be programmed to perform actions after it hits each of these squares. The sensor detects the green color under the robot - the robot says “Green” - turns to the right - goes forward three turns of the wheel - takes the LEGO cube with the manipulator - returns three turns of the wheel back - puts the cube. So we modeled the orbital flight and the output into orbit of a certain module.

    Outwardly, a more intricate model is the launch pad for the "Angara". It is going in an hour. The main thing is to immediately decompose all the details by color and type, so as not to go through them in search of "here is such a small blue sleeve with a cross from one side."

    The Moon Odyssey kit includes a variety of gears of various sizes. With them you can make different manipulators for our robot. And for different loads - from several LEGO cubes to the Angara launch vehicle. The simplest version of the manipulator is assembled in a couple of minutes, but you can study the topic in more detail and make a manipulator with different strength and speed of movement.

    All LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 blocks are programmed through a standard environment. Some programming steps are checked using test questions in student materials.

    The Moon Odyssey Kit was developed in collaboration with a group of Moscow educators, the Roskosmos corporation, and the Orlenko Space Corps (United Rocket and Space Corporation). It not only introduces the Russian space program and the fundamentals of robotics, but also helps consolidate the skills of research and teamwork. And, as we hope, it stimulates students' interest in space and robotics.

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