Jeremy 9/18/03 16 Sessions Left
Today, we got started on our various ideas for our missions and team mottos. We thought up several mottos, and have yet to vote on them. Our ideas include: -Burning to make a good impression [or impact] -The challenge doesnít impact us, we impact it -If youíre not impressed [something added to the end] -Impact is only the beginning -Screaming to make a good impression I think that we will vote on them next session. This is what everyone worked on today: -Jake worked on the chassis today and has yet to finish it. It is based on a large plate with many supports. -Greg worked on his "Self-calibrating" lone counting program and successfully tested it. It could come in handy later on for finding our position on the game board. He also helped Zach H. with a lance to pick up two of the parallel ice cores at the same time. It is untested. At the end of class, he helped me (Jeremy), with a device to drop both habitation modules at once in a "V" formation. The "Habitation Dropper" was unfinished by the end of class. -Walker made what he called the "Dropper Popper", which put the ball into the MAV launcher, then launched it. The first model was finished, but untested on a bot. -Zach B. and Gabe worked on something to dust the solar panel, which wasnít completely finished, so wasnít tested on a bot. -Zach H and Greg worked on the Ice Core lance. -Davis worked on several different possible chassis designs. They have not been finished yet. -Jeremy worked on the Habitation Modules. We also drew up several logos and put them in the journal. Many teammates have drawn their own idea at home for "The Screaming Meteor."

Greg 9/23/03 15 Sessions Left
Today was the second day that we were able to work on our bot for the challenge. We first took care of team business like sharing new logo ideas etc. Then, we began to build. -Jeremy and I (Greg) worked on the Habitation Modules. We have finished the basic design for the device but are having trouble programming it because there are so many obstacles to dodge in order to reach the main module. Right now, we are using a combination of line counting and rotation counting to find our way down the field. -Gabe and Zach B. worked on the Solar Dusting. They have designed a sort of flexible brush to sweep barely above the surface of the solar panel and remove the one by two beams. They mostly use rotations and timers to remove the dust. -Walker worked on the MAV Launcher. Though he made an ingenious contraption to launch the MAV launcher, some of us are beginning to have our doubts about whether or not it will work. -Zach H. worked on the Ice Cores and began to design a possible future chassis. He has built a lance device to skewer the Ice Cores but has yet to program it. -Davis and Jake also worked on possible chassis. They have a few ideas. The most interesting, is a "Tri-wheel design" as described by Davis, the one who had the idea. Essentially, it would make it easy to go over the crater and possibly even sort of climb over obstacles. It would have three wheels on either side arranged like a triangle. The gear train would when the wheels were unable to move actually flip the wheels forward so that the original wheel that was on top would now be in front. -Some of us went to the California Robot Games to represent FLL. It was primarily a FIRST competition for high school kids but we had fun talking with them and showing people this year's challenge. We saw a lot of other robots at the games.

Gabe 9/25/03 14 Sessions Left
Today we had a lot of fun. It was a Thursday so we wont meet until next Tuesday. We once again got a lot done. We even decided on our team motto "Burning to make a good impression." -Zach B. and I (Gabe) worked on the Solar Dusting. We are getting pretty far but have a lot to go. We have created an attachment design but need to make some changes so that it will work more efficiently. As well as design aspects, we still need to write a program though we have started. -Zach H. worked a little on the Ice Cores with the help of Greg and also worked a bit on a chassis. He didnít get much done with the Ice Cores but worked a lot on the chassis. -Greg as well as helping Zach H., worked on the Habitation Modules along with Jeremy. They have a good idea to drop the habitation modules using a rod that slides into a tube loosely and slides out when the robot goes backwards. -Walker worked more on the MAV Launcher. He kept working on the incredible attachment and tried to attach it to a robot to test. heíll probably test it on a bot next class. -Davis worked on his "Tri-wheel" design. It seems like a pretty cool idea. I think it would be great if he could get it to work. It is a very interesting principle but would probably end up fairly complex. -Jake worked on a possible design for a claw to grab the rover. At this time, it is fairly in-efficient but with some tweaking,

Walker 9/30/03 13 Sessions Left
Today was a fairly productive day, many people worked hard on a lot of the challenges. As well as working on the challenges significantly, we also discussed the website and research assignment. -Zach B. and Gabe worked on the solar panel. They have completed the design for the sweeper and are working hard to improve their program. Many changes were made from the original design in order to make the attachment fall down by itself nearly every time. I (Walker) think that they will probably need to alter it even more to get it to work more accurately and efficiently. -Zach H. began to design an interesting claw today for the rover recovery. It would basically grab the rover from the dune and bring it back to base. He is having trouble with his current claw design so will probably attempt to rebuild and improve it next class. -Greg worked on building multiple Tharsi (our botís name and a large crater on Mars.) He has slightly altered the original design to make it more efficient. Today he completed two Tharsi giving us a grand total of three. -Davis decided that he really wanted to ensue the "Tri-wheel" design so ignored some teammates expressing the fact that three of Tharsus were already built and Tharsus was capable of rolling over the crater which was the main reason the "Tri-wheel design" was created. -I (Walker) worked on the MAV Launcher attachment. I am still perfecting it but think that it will work great. Iíll probably test it on a robot next class. -Jake worked on a claw for the Rover Recovery mission. He re-built his earlier model and kept making adjustments trying to make it stronger, lighter, and overall more efficient.

Jake 10/02/03 12 Sessions Left
Today was the first Tuesday of October. I hope that this month we will finish most of the challenges. We have decided that we will all start the research project and website when the challenges are done. - Davis worked on the "Tri-wheel design" so far, he has built a model of what he expects the basic design to be. It seems a bit over-complex for the situation at hand. Although it would be pretty cool if he could get it to work. -Zach H. and I (Jake) worked on the claw for the Rover Retrieval mission. We started building a new design because his previous idea was a failure. I think that this is a great idea but might take a while to program and build. -Zach B. and Gabe worked more on the solar dusting. They made a program that sweeps the solar panel but need to improve it. Also, they kept slightly altering the sweeper to make it more efficient. They are getting close to completion. -Greg worked on the Habitation Modules. He has written a program that would probably get right where it needed to be if we took the attachment off, but because of the attachment, it is pretty hard to avoid all of the obstacles. -Jeremy took some pictures and rebuilt the crater which had fallen apart when accidentally dropped by James. He wasnít very interested in the Habitation Modules anymore for some reason. James told him he needed to help Greg again next class. -Walker worked on the MAV Launcher. He tried testing his attachment by putting it on a standard rover bot. When he programmed it to go forwards, it didnít hit the MAV Launcher where it was supposed to. Even so, he was still convinced that he could make his creation work.

Davis 10/04/03 11 Sessions Left
Today was a good day but it could have been better. We got a lot done but not as much as we could have. Today was a Thursday and the team was doing well. -Zach B. and Gabe worked on the program for the Solar Dusting. As well as making a program for sweeping the panel, they also kept making minor adjustments on the attachment to make it work better. They still need to program it to return to base and perhaps change a few rotations in order to make it work more efficiently. -Zach H. altered his lance to make it work a lot batter. He satrted programming but was having trouble. James suggested that some time soon Zach H. should learn how to program in inventor. -Jake worked on the Rover Recovery mission. His claw design has changed dramatically. It is now more efficient and more fitting for the task at hand. He now uses slip gears so that he can always be closing his claw so he has the tightest grip possible on the rover. -I (Davis) worked more on my "Tri-wheel" design. I (Davis) am making a chassis but it looks like it wont be very compatible with the RCX. -Walker worked some on his MAV Launcher attachment. It seems like a good idea but he still hasnít gotten it to launch the ball when it is on a bot. -Jeremy and Greg worked on the Habitation Modules. They are getting pretty far.

Zach B. 10/09/03 10 Sessions Left
Today was Tuesday. James really got on our tails today about finishing off the challenge. Surprisingly though, it didnít seem to affect the speed at which everyone worked. Today, we once again presented logos and ideas for slogans. We are getting close to deciding on what each should be. -Walker worked on the MAV Launcher. He couldnít do much today, however, because he didnít have access to a Tharsus and didnít have needed weights to attach and counter- balance the bot and his seemingly oversized attachment. -Zach B. and Gabe once again worked on the Solar Dusting. They are getting close to perfectly sweeping the panel. They have a good technique: sweep back and forth several times in case the bot misses the dust at any time. Now, they just need to program it to go back to base. -Jake got pretty far on the Rover and has finished his claw to grab it. His challenge now is to program it which he has so far had trouble with. -Jeremy and Greg worked together to build more Tharsi so that every challenge would have one. Altogether we have four of them now. -Zach H. worked more on his Ice core lance. He has the design now but just needs to program it. -Davis further ensued his "Tri-wheel design." He attempted to make a bot for it without succession.

Zach H. 10/14/03 9 Sessions Left
Today we got a lot done but also had some failures. A few designs were trashed and rebuilt but thatís all part of robotics. - I (Zach H.) had trouble with the Ice Cores because my lance wasnít going through them as often as I wanted it to. I think that Iíll remodel it next class. - Jeremy and Greg tested motor speeds in investigator after noticing that a lot of bots werenít going straight. They only found one pair that looked exactly the same speed. - Zach B. and Gabe found out that their sweeper for the Solar Dusting wasnít reliable for falling down into place. They had to alter it in a few ways to get it to fall properly. - Jake had trouble with the claw program because his bot wasnít moving straight. He needed to wait for Jeremy and Greg to find him equal motors. - Walker sadly agreed that his MAV Launcher attachment wasnít going to work though it was a very cool idea. He got rid of his old attachment and created a new better one. Though the concept isnít as cool, it is better for the actual challenge aspect. -Davis built a chassis that integrated a new "Tri-wheel design." It looks like it probably wont work.

Jeremy 10/16/03 8 Sessions Left
Today we made more success than any other session yet. We had several revolutions: The MAV Launcher bot began to work pretty well, same with the claw to take the rover home, but the solar duster by far got the most consistent today. Davis, working on the Ice cores, somehow came up with a most ingenious contraption to grab the ice cores, and we call it the Davis Ice Core Hook. The hook consists of a long pole, but on the end are two angle pieces, connected to the pole with pegs, and, when the ice cores slide over them, it grabs them and holds them in place. This was a great improvement to Zach Hís ice core lance, and should improve our success on the mission very much. -On the Solar Panel mission are Gabe and Zach B. , and they seem to be getting far. Today they made improvements on the solar duster module, and remade the program. They fixed the previous motor problem and this added to their success. This is a great help, and great inspiration to the rest of the team. -Walker, today, made a lot of success with his new MAV Launcher module. The new version is much simpler, but uses the same principle of, when hitting the MAV Launcher, dropping the ball in, then launching the ball directly after. The program is getting him to the launcher, and it seems to work pretty well, but not %100. -Jake, working on the Rover Rescue mission, made a lot of success today also. So far he has gotten his bot all the way to the sand dune on which the rover sits; before he had trouble with this. He has gotten to the rover, but has had trouble trying to get his claw module to grab the rover, and pull it back home. -Zach H worked on his chassis design today, and did pretty well with it. -Today, I (Jeremy), made another Tharsus, our 5th, so I could later work on the habitation module mission. -Greg was sick today, and didnít show up. -We also finished testing the motors to find even pairs, but only found a couple pairs, and have used them all in our Tharsus bots. Although we are behind schedule, we are beginning to make up for lost time, and things are looking good.

Greg 10/21/03 7 Sessions Left Today, James told us that we were almost to the point where we would be finished with the Lego aspect of the challenge and would soon start the website and research assignment. He also said that we needed to decide on a logo for our team. - Jeremy and I (Greg) worked on the Habitation Modules. We are still having trouble navigating around the obstacles but are narrowing down the failure percentage by making small changes in our program. - Walker worked on the MAV Launcher program. He has designed a new attachment that everyone seems to think will work better than the last. Though it is less complex, the team agrees that it will work more efficiently and accurately. - Gabe and Zach B. worked more on the Tetrahedron Base and Solar Dusting program. They now have a program that will return their bot to base after knocking off most or all of the Solar Dust. It still needs improvement though today it has already improved very much. - Zach H. worked on programming fundamentals as he has never really learned advanced programming. He used a basic rover bot and the help of James to learn to program a sumo robot. - Davis worked on the program for his ingenious contraption that he created last class for the Ice Cores. Everyone was happily surprised when he invented it because he had had failures with all of his other attempts to create his "Tri-wheel design." - Jake worked on the Rover Recovery. He has gotten close to the crater and just needs some adjustments in order to grab the rover.

Gabe 10/23/03 6 Sessions Left
Today, we worked on final logo designs. We are definitely going to have a screaming meteor. We also decided that it should be coming out from a circle with our team name around it and have the flaming tail protruding from a congruent circle on the opposite side of the shirt. There have been some major improvements on the challenges too. -Jake worked on the Rover Retrieval program. He found a way to get to the rover that seems to be more efficient than going straight out and having to navigate around all of the obstacles. he instead plans to go just right of the MAV Launcher and around the edge of the board, thus, he will not need to aviod nearly as many obstacles. -Walker got really close on his MAV Launcher program. He plans to add the completion of the Alliance Habitation Modules to his program once heís finished with the MAV. -Greg worked on the Habitation Modules with the slight additional help of Jeremy. They are getting more efficient at navigating around the obstacles but are still having some trouble. -Zach B. and I, (Gabe) worked on the Solar Dusting. We are getting very close to a 100% success rate! -Davis worked on the Ice Cores. He is doing pretty well but is moving kind of slow. -Jeremy worked on the Research Assignment with some help of Zach H. They found a lot of information about the MAV Launcher.

Jake 10/30/03 4 Sessions Left
Today was a Tuesday. We are very close to the Competition deadline with a lot of work left to do. We discussed team logos slogans and everything else today. We decided that we should try to have an emergency meeting sometime early next week in addition to the extra Friday practice. -Today, Greg showed us his "South Pointing Chariot." The idea was that it would be like a "fail safe" in case our robot was off course. Essentially, it would give the robot a certain allotted time to complete its current challenge, but a split task from the begining would be using a light sensor sensing black and white dots on a pulley to always know the direction of base because of a complex gear ratio. We all thought that it was an incredible idea, but sadly, agreed that we should use the attachment if we end up going to the State Finals because we are so low on time. -Gabe worked more on the Habitation Modules today. He has gotten where he needs to be but is having trouble getting the magnets to attach to each other. He may end up needing to raise the Habitation modules a bit off the ground so that the magnets can freely spin to the correct polarity to attach to the stationary module. -Zach B. worked on turning the "South Pointing Chariot" into a chassis with motors to test the gear rations accuracy. We decided that he should do this because he had already finished his previous challenge and had nothing much he could do otherwise. -Walker finished working on his MAV Launcher attachment and the program to make it launch. He started working on an attachment to complete the Alliance Habitation Module challenge in a way that would not require the other teamís assistance. The way he did this is by making a sort of sideways claw the would close itself and the modules. -Greg helped Davis with the Ice Cores. They only needed to make a few minor adjustments mechanically, but needed to write the whole program. They have gotten to the Ice Cores, but are working on a device to keep them in the right position. -I, (Jake) worked on the claw more. I have gotten out to the rover but am still having trouble getting in just the right position. I needed to add some supports so that my gear train will work better. -Jeremy worked on the Research Assignment. He has found a bunch of stuff about the MAV Launcher and Space Elevator (the two ideas we will in our project be debating over.) -Zach H. worked more on learning to program in inventor. He is having trouble but is learning fairly quickly, especially for a kid his age.

Davis 11/4/03 3 Sessions Left
Today James really urged us to get going. We still had a lot of work to do. We are all very excited, but some of us are having trouble focusing. We decided that James, Jeremy, and Greg, were going to work on the website this weekend. -Gabe kept on working on the Habitation Modules today. He is getting closer. Though he is still having trouble getting the magnets to connect, his program reaches the modules nearly every time, so his attachment just needs some adjustment. -Zach B. kept working on the "South Pointing Chariot" mechanism for a while while he wasnít needed. Then, after a while, James asked him to help Jake who was having trouble work on the Rover Recovery program. -Walker completed his attachment for the Alliance Habitation Modules and needs to work on his program to complete it from the MAV Launcher. His attachment is untested on a bot so far. -Greg helped me (Davis) with the Ice Cores. We worked on the attachment to keep us in position but are having trouble using multiple sensor forks at the same time. We need to figure it out soon or we wont be able to finish the program. -Zach H. began to help Jeremy with the Research Assignment. They keep finding out more and recording it.

Zach B. 11/06/03 2 Sessions Left
Today was the first Thursday of the month. We still have a ways to go. Today we got a lot done but also had some trouble. - Gabe today, worked on the Habitation Modules. He happily accepted the challenge so that Greg could help work on the Ice Cores. He decided that he wanted to make a new program because the old one didnít work very well. Starting from scratch, he got surprisingly far along. He did keep the attachment though. - Davis and Greg worked on the Ice Cores. They slightly modified the attachment and made a touch sensor on the side to keep the bot against the wall. They are getting fairly far but need to write a program. Though they plan to retrieve all three cores, they will probably start by making a program to bring the two that are aligned back to base and then work on getting the third so that in case we donít have enough time to program for all three, we can at least get two. - Jake worked on the Rover Retrieval with a bit of help from Davis. They got pretty far but are still having some trouble aligning the claw to pick up the rover. -Zach H. and Jeremy together worked on the Research Project. They are getting a lot of information but still need to put it into presentation form. -Walker worked on the MAV Launcher. His program is nearly complete. The robot can now launch the MAV Launcher over half of the time.