Above: PISCES Director Rodrigo Romo (L) and UH Manoa Planetary Scientist Dr. Jeff Taylor. 

The director of PISCES was among the keynote speakers at an opening ceremony for the Hawaiʻi First LEGO League (FLL) season held at Punahou in September.

FLL is an international robotics competition for elementary and middle school students and tasks teams with solving real-world problems. The students must design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology and compete on a table-top playing field.

This year’s FLL challenge is called the “Into Orbit Challenge” and students must identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long-duration space exploration missions and propose a solution.

PISCES’ Program Director Rodrigo Romo and Dr. Jeff Taylor, a planetary scientist at UH’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, shared their experiences working with regolith, living in enclosed systems like Biosphere 2, and envisioning the future of space exploration. A lively Q&A followed where students expressed a strong interest and appreciation for aerospace and engineering.

The level of participation in these robotics competitions indicates strong interest throughout Hawaiʻi and PISCES is excited to participate and support in this enriching STEM and robotics program.