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NASA and VASC Organise Robotic Merit Badge Events for Boy Scouts of America

NASA Langley Research Center has joined hands with the Virginia Air and Space Center in organising an event for the Boy Scouts of America to earn their robotics badges.

This event is being organised as part of the partnership between NASA and the Boy Scouts of America. The event is scheduled to be held at the Virginia Air and Space Center on 17 September. A large number of activities related to robotics have been lined up for the event and as many as 200 scouts and 50 scout leaders are expected to turn up at the event. Apart from participating in the events the scouts will get an opportunity to interact with the NASA engineers and also witness some demonstrations by robotic teams from VASC and NASA.

Amongst the organised events, the space-related robotic activities involve learning the usage of Lunar Surface Robotic Manipulator System. This system is capable of lifting and placing equipment with utmost precision on another planet. Another space robotics related activity is gaining knowledge on Robonaut 2 and its contribution to the International Space Station in assisting their operations. The scouts will also be exposed to mini rover from Mars Science Lab which is scheduled to be launched in the latter half of 2011. Coming to the robotic technologies related to earth, the events include a look into the bomb defusing robots used at the Langley Air Force base, a robot from the First Lego League and a robot crafted from creative materials by a safety officer at Langley.

The concept of Robotic Badges was created by NASA and Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in order to recognise the influence that robotics have on our lives and its importance in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The process of acquiring the robotic badge has now been made part of the curriculum at the BSA so that young scouts are trained to meet the challenges of today’s competitive education. In order to aid the scouts to win the badge they will be provided access to engineering software and mentors in the robotic stream. The scout should display a good understanding of robotic concepts like how the robot works, moves and perceives the environment. The total number of hours that the scouts will be awarded for acquiring robotic skills and building robots is 14 hours. The BSA expects that at least 10,000 scouts will win badges in their first year.

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