Public invited to Lunar Legacy Invitational robotics competition at NAU

team photo

July 11, 2019

The Northern Arizona University Center for Science Teaching and Learning collaborated with a number of STEM partners to bring a battle of the ‘bots to campus this month for the Lunar Legacy Invitational. The event showcases three robotics challenge competitions with teams of students from throughout the world in a celebration of STEM education and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Competitions will take place July 19-20 in the University Fieldhouse.

Competing students will earn individual team rewards as well as support and learn from peers and opponents by watching other challenges. In addition to competing in the robotics challenges, teams will participate in field trips and events that highlight Flagstaff’s history with NASA and planetary science. Members of the public can join the fun at no cost by cheering on teams and robots at the following competitions:

Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge (ANGLeS): Lunar Lander

This introductory STEM challenge is for teams of two to five students in grades 5-12. Teams must complete a NASA challenge of recreating the Apollo 11 moon landing using drones and robots. The challenge objectives are to successfully build and land a replica lunar module in a designated zone on the lunar surface, then use a programmed LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Lunar Rover to explore and complete a series of tasks on the moon’s surface. Visit the ANGLeS challenge web page for more details.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL): Into Orbit

In this challenge, teams of up to 10 students ages 9-14 are tasked with finding a solution to a real-world problem such as recycling or food safety. They also must design, build and program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology. Teams then compete with their robots in space-themed challenges on a table-top playing field. Visit the FIRST LEGO League challenge web page for more details.

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC): Rover Ruckus

In a challenge sponsored by Qualcomm Incorporated, teams of up to 15 middle and high school students complete trials on a 12- by 12-foot field made of soft foam mat enclosed by 12-inch high walls. Teams compete for the highest scores using robots to descend to and navigate the playing field to collect, sort and score minerals. Students of all skill levels are welcome to participate in FIRST challenges. Visit the FIRST Tech Challenge web page for more details.

For more information about the Lunar Legacy Invitational or to learn how to support STEM efforts, visit the event web page or contact the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at or (928) 523-7160.

Cheyenne Jarrette