‘First Robotics Expo’ showcases space technology

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Space and technology are part of our regions DNA and some local kids are involved at an early age. The "Time Travelers" are a robotics team that participates through the organization "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" or "FIRST." On Saturday they brought together three levels of the FIRST program to showcase the sport to the community. Their main goal was to show how much fun this STEM-based sport is.

This year the theme of the robotics projects was space.  "Every year first releases a challenge that relates to some real-life event, specifically this year it relates to the Apollo mission," says 8th grader Maddox Ralph.

The robot Ralph and his team spent months creating simulates a lunar lander mission. He says the display simulates"when the lunar lander dropped off a rover to come collect stuff off of the moon for them to bring back a test back on earth," says Ralph.

Naturally, the mentor for the Time Travelers team is a former NASA employee.

Chuck Lewis says he did spend some time working on the rover but being involved in space-themed robotics was "an unexpected connection for me."

Team "Innovate" from Fort Payne created technology to help astronauts cope with the emotions that come with being light years away from home.

The group says that after doing some research they discovered astronauts face a two and a half-year trip and because of the time and distance they say the astronauts are likely going to face some negative emotions such as depression, anxiety loneliness. "So our project is an app that connects that instant therapy for astronauts on the mission to Mars," says fifth-grader Joseph Hernandez.

While these students are practicing problem-solving they're also learning about an important part of our history.

"I would definitely say it's helped my appreciation of it," says Ralph.

Now, these kids are ready for life's next big mission.

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