As part of the FIRST family, you know that you can program robots can do some pretty cool things. What if you could program a robot to simulate missions on the Moon? Here’s your chance to do just that!

The MoonBots 2012: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge is underway.  You still have time to enter, and it’s free! This two-phase contest, sponsored by the X PRIZE Foundation and the LEGO Group, is open to Teams of 2-5 kids from ages 9-17. In Phase One, Teams will produce a fun, creative and scientific video sharing their lunar landscape challenge design.  It could be made out of LEGO bricks, sustainable materials, or even rocks and sand. 30 teams will be selected for Phase Two to build their lunar landscape and program a free LEGO MINDSTORMS robot to complete a course on their Moon. The Grand Prize winners will receive a trip for the Team and their families to visit the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) on the Island of Hawaii and learn about how the Hawaiian landscape today helps scientists prepare to explore the Moon.

Free registration and Phase One of the contest is open through July 15. Phase Two of the contest begins August 1st through November 15th. To learn more about the MoonBots 2012 Challenge, additional partners supporting the contest, and how to register a team, visit http://www.moonbots.org.