Romanian students need funding to travel to NASA programming contest finals
Eight high school students from the western Romania city of Timisoara cannot attend a NASA programming contest in the US because they lack the money for getting there, Mediafax reported.
The students, who are enrolled at the Grigore Moisil High school, have made it to the finals of the Zero Robotics International Space Station (ISS) programming challenge, organized by NASA and the MIT.
Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the robots are satellites inside the International Space Station. The competition starts online, where teams compete to solve an annual challenge guided by mentors. After several phases of virtual competition, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut conducts the championship competition, with a live broadcast.
The finals take place in Boston, on January 11-12 of next year. The organizers of the event do not cover the travel costs.
This is the second year that the Timisoara team qualifies for the finals and does not have the funding for travel. The Timisoara School Inspectorate is currently trying to find sponsors that will cover the needed EUR 8,000 to EUR 10,000.
“Given that it is a competition that is probably not included in the calendar of the National Education Minister, it does not receive financial support. The education system needs such competitions, which promote creativity. Last year, for Zero Robotics we turned to sponsors,” Aura Danielescu, a head school inspector for the Timis county, explained.