Zero Gravity, the documentary film covering MIT's Zero Robotics group for middle school students, will be shown on Sunday, April 24 in an event at the Carnegie Observatory in Pasadena, California. Zero Robotics PI Danielle Wood and Zero Gravity director Thomas Verrette will join a Q&A after the screening to discuss the film and the next phase of Zero Robotics.
Founded over a decade ago by MIT’s Alvar Saenz-Otero, Jacob Katz and David Miller and co-led by a team from Innovation Learning Center and Aurora Flight Sciences, Zero Robotics is an educational program that hosts tournaments to teach middle and high school students to write code and program with robots on the International Space Station (ISS). The Zero Robotics program originally allowed students to use robotics called SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites); this system was developed by the MIT Space Systems Laboratory, in conjunction with NASA, DARPA, and Aurora Flight Sciences, to provide a safe and reusable zero gravity platform to test sensor, control, and autonomy technologies for use in satellites. In the next iteration, the Zero Robotics team will use the NASA Astrobee robotic platform.
Zero Gravity is a feature documentary that follows a diverse group of middle-school students from San Jose, CA, who compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station.
Seen through the wondrous eyes of three young students and their first-time coach, they each take an intimate and personal journey to space as their team grows from amateur coders to representing California in the ISS Finals Tournament—the culmination of a summer-long adventure that sees their incredible accomplishment performed by astronauts in orbit.