Palm Crest Elementary School sits four miles away from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where a team built and developed the Mars rover Curiosity, the largest machine sent to another planet.
But engineers at the La Cañada Flintridge lab may have some competition on the horizon: The school is starting a robotics program and a handful of students have already participated in an international competition.
After parents — including some who worked on Curiosity — secured a grant to work on a new pilot robotics program for elementary students, they put together a team of 10 students.
The team, named 2% Milk, had a month to develop the machine, using a kit supplied by VEX Robotics. At the Anaheim Convention Center last month, they wheeled out their creation, Bessy, which had the capacity to drop tennis balls into buckets.
They didn’t win first place, but parents think the experience was valuable.