"We're going to the moon"
Non-profit agency recruiting area youth interested in robotics
St. Louis, MO – December 17, 2010 - A north St. Louis non-profit organization that teaches robotics, computer science and green technology to the area's underserved youth and adults is making a connection that is literally out of this world.
Computer Village is actively involved in a multi-national, space lunar mission to develop software and programming for communication and control protocols for exploratory robotic rovers on the moon.
In short, Computer Village has a hand in creating the means for controllers from earth to tell the moon rover, about a quarter of a million miles from earth, what to do: turn left, turn right, go forward, back up, aim the camera this way/that way, snap a picture, roll the video and so forth.
"We're going to the moon," said Ahmed Abdullah, Director of Technology for Computer Village and chief local software writer for a project that features the top scientific and technology savvy minds on the planet.
Computer Village is part of Team Frednet, which is a serious contender in the Google Lunar X Prize competition. Team Frednet, based in Huntsville, AL. is comprised of developers, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs working to develop major software systems for space exploration and research. Huntsville is home of the Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center and first home of NASA – National Aerunotics and Space Administration.
Team Frednet is one of 22 teams competing to put a robot on the moon and win the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon, travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to earth.
The X Prize has its genesis in St. Louis. The first winner was St. Louis Charles Lindbergh, who, as the whole world watched, piloted the first non-stop flight between New York to Paris in 1927. Formally named the "Orteig Prize," Lindbergh won a $25,000 purse offered by hotel magnate Raymond Orteig.
In addition to the X Prize competition, Team FredNet was on of six companies recently awarded $30.1 million over five years in contracts by NASA for feasibility information on how to build future human and robotic vehicles and space exploration systems.
Computer Village's entry into the X Prize competition is the launching pad for its robotics and space program.
Don M. Holt, Computer Village's Executive Director, called the lunar robotics collaboration a "significant platform" in bridging the digital and educational divide by showcasing the exemplary talents of individuals across the social-economic spectrum.
Abdullah said the collaboration in the project allows for further development and supports Computer Village's youth robotics and space program. He said Computer Village is actively recruiting area youth interested in learning about and building robotics for use in interplanetary missions and other useful exploratory missions.
Abdullah added that the project also includes the creation of educational software that can be utilized in the public domain that can be downloaded by anyone for free and works with rovers on the moon.
"Our mission is based on bridging the digital divide within socially and economically distress communities by using technology as a catalyst for improvement," Abdullah said. "Our collaboration with Team FREDNET is bridging the divide in emerging fields of robotics and space exploration."
For more information about the Google Lunar X Prize competition, contact Don Holt at 314.533.1900 or visit agency's website at www.cvillage.org or Facebook at 'cvillage'.
For more information, call 314.533.1900 or visit www.cvillage.org