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We are using Piazza as a sharing space for you to ask any questons about the 2022 Zero Rbotics program. All questions posted to Piazza will be answered within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. If you are new to Piazza, this tutorial material might be helpful to get you started.

*Please note that if you don't have an email address, you can come to our office hours.*

Course Number: ZRS 2022

Course Name: ZeroRobotics -- The Great Spelling Bee

Course Term: Summer 2022

Signup Link:

Access Code: zrs2022

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will coding in this year's IDE be different from previous years?

Just like previous years, students will code in C in this year's IDE. There are a set of game-specific API functions for them to use, as well. However, this year, students will not have to account for any changes in the Astrobee's rotation, orientation, attitude, velocity, etc. The only aspect of the Astrobee students will have to account for will be its position using the game's API functions.


2. How do you take dark zones into account when coding the Astrobee?

The dark zones in the game are the obstacles that participants should try to avoid while coding. There will be two possible dark zone configurations, which are shown in the game manual (Section 2.2). These dark zones will not move throughout the five minutes of the simulation. They will stay in the same place, so you won't need to account for any changes of the position of the dark zones in your code. In addition, the dark zone penalty is only enforced when the center of the Astrobee goes through the dark zone, so it if only one edge of the Astrobee crosses the dark zone, no points will be deducted.


3. How does the Astrobee's coordinate plane relate to the game?

The coordinate plane will not actually affect any of the code you will write for this year's game. It is just useful information to know when trying to understand the Astrobee robot's movement in three dimensions. For this game, the Astrobee will only need to move in two dimensions, so the simulation will show the Astrobee moving in the XY plane.


4. How do you choose the best password?

There will be several factors for you to consider when deciding your password. First, consider where each of your letters are starting and ending. Note that the Astrobee is not required to reset to the center after it draws a letter. Then, for letters that need retracing, consider which segments in the letter will take the least time to retrace. This will be important in maximizing your time score. In general, the best password will be a balance between a high complexity score, low time score deductions, and low dark zone deductions.


5. What will the Alliance Event look like?

All teams will join a zoom call to pick their alliances in a live event. During this call, teams from bracket A will have the opportunity to choose their alliance live; in return, teams in bracket B will be able to accept or deny. After all alliances have been formed, there will be discussions on how to collaborate before the ISS Finals. ?


6. What are alliances?

Teams will be paired in alliances in order to collaborate on a code which will be submitted as a Player for the ISS Finals Event. All teams will be divided into two brackets depending on their Round one code. Bracket A will have the opportunity to choose a team from bracket B. Teams in bracket B have the chance to accept or deny the alliance.


7. Does my team have to form an alliance?

Yes, all teams are required to form an alliance, the only restriction on forming an alliance is that they are allowed to be formed from the same school or organization.


If you have any other questions, you can also contact us via

Astrobee | NASA