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

PISCES co-delivered the keynote speech at the opening ceremony for the Hawaii First LEGO League (FLL) season held at Punahou in September.

FLL is an international robotics competition for elementary and middle school students challenging teams to solve real-world problems. The students must also 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 “Into Orbit Challenge” and students must identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration 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 Hawaii and PISCES is excited to participate and support in this enriching STEM and robotics program.