MARQUETTE – More than 200 students from across the Upper Peninsula will participate in “U.P. Martian Mayhem,” a robotics competition at Northern Michigan University. It will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, in Vandament Arena. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

The regional event is affiliated with First Lego League International, a program for 9- to 14-year-olds that combines hands-on, interactive robotics with a sports-like atmosphere. The goal is to promote team building, problem solving, creativity and analytical thinking.

FLLI issues a challenge each September. This year’s theme is “Mission Mars.” Teams of up to 10 players had a maximum of eight weeks to strategize, design, build, program, test and refine a fully autonomous robot capable of completing various missions using Lego Mindstorms™ technology. Some of the missions include knocking a rover off its perch, retrieving a habitation module, and wiping dust off a solar panel. 

Twenty-two teams have registered for SaturdayÂ’s competition. The one that turns in the best robotics performance will advance to the state tournament at the Novi Expo Center. But students are also judged on the following: robot building and programming skills; teamwork; and a research project they present based on an FLL International assignment relating to a problem or opportunity facing the world today. A few additional teams will advance to the state tournament based on their total score for all categories.

An awards ceremony will follow the competition at 2:30 p.m. in Vandament Arena. The Seaborg Center at Northern Michigan University is organizing “U.P. Martian Mayhem,” with support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director