Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Floating robotic spheres will be used to play games in space next year

Illustration for article titled Floating robotic spheres will be used to play games in space next year

The European Space Agency and MIT is setting up a tournament where students can earn points by controlling the movement of volleyball-sized spheres located inside the International Space Station.

Advertisement

The SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) can move around the ISS using 12 jets powered by compressed gas. Each of them have their own power, propulsion, and navigation. But in order to make them move in the exact way needed, students will have to pre-program each of them with the instructions required to fulfil a specific goal.

Illustration for article titled Floating robotic spheres will be used to play games in space next year
Advertisement

Secondary-school students can prepare for the Zero Robotics Competition by testing their codes in online simulations. The best algorithms will propel the competitor to the finals, when they'll get to see the SPHERES run their commands live from space. Each competitor will be put into a three-team alliance from different European countries.

Registration for U.S. high school students can be found here.

The final event will take place in January 2014 with the U.S. teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the European teams at ESA's ESTEC Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

More at ESA.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

ArthurCarvalho
ArthurCarvalho

"Dad! I'm in space! [low-pitched 'space' voice] I'm proud of you, son. [normal voice] Dad, are you space? [low-pitched 'space' voice] Yes. Now we are a family again."