This year at ROBOTICON, everywhere you look there are space ships and rover landings. This is because all the FIRST programs have a space exploration theme. The team is joined by special guest Kurt Leucht a software engineer at NASA, who is here to show support. Kurt has been working for NASA for 27 years, he is part of Swamp Works a research group that works to create out of the box technology that astronauts will need in the future when they explore Mars. He talks about how there needs to be new technology developed to help the journey to Mars be as safe and cost-effective as possible. Part of Kurt's job is to find a way to use the environment on Mars to make water, rocket fuel and other necessities for the astronauts.
Kurt is also at ROBOTICON to give presentations about the process of long-distance space travel and he says it opens people's eyes and gets them excited about what NASA is doing and what to work towards for the future. Kurt explains that the current plan is to go back to the moon. To learn more about long term space travel, they are going to build a small space station around the moon called "the gateway," from there they will make a small lunar colony on the surface of the moon to practice long duration living in space.
The special thing about FIRST students Kurt talks about is that these children will be the ones to be living on Mars. He enjoys talking to kids and telling them that because they are growing up in a culture that promotes creative problem solving they are already started to become NASA engineers.
To learn more about NASA internships, visit the NASA intern website.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.