Forty-two years have passed since Gene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon. I think it is way past time that we went back and I am pleased to find I'm not the only one who thinks so...
It's called the 2014 Moonbots Challenge. Sponsored by Google and LEGO for 9 through 17 years olds, its goal is to stimulate interest in young people about returning to the moon. First the kids are asked to form teams and produce a video that answers the question “Why should we go Back to the Moon for Good?” Twenty-five teams are picked from all over the world based on their answers in their videos. Each of the twenty-five video winners will then get a LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics toolkit, a lot of LEGO bricks and some other as yet unspecified materials (faux moon rockst?) with which to build a robot capable of surviving in a simulated moonscape.
In furthering the goal of stimulating interest in returning to the moon, each team will then produce a video in which it demonstrates the team's robot working in the simulated moon environment in front of children and adults in their communities. There are a number of prizes available but the first-place team will get a trip to Hawaii and a chance to test its robot in the closest thing Earth has to a lunar environment, the edge of a volcano.
Everyone can view the winning videos answering the question, “Why should we go Back to the Moon for Good?" The kids' obvious enthusiasm for returning to the moon not only heartened this old space-enthusiast's soul but provided him with some up-to-date arguments in its favor, like lithium mining. Take a look and you’ll be impressed -- and, I hope, convinced.