As a part of the 2011 Bay Area Science Festival, Antipodes modifed their robot, Rubi, to create a Mars Rover Simulator that supported the Peninsula Library System's "One Book - One Community" choice for 2011, "Packing for Mars", by Mary Roach. On October 17, 2011, the girls invited kids to drive their simulator at the Pacifica Sharp Park Library, and arranged for astronomy educator Suzy Gurton to engage the kids in learning activities while they were waiting for their turn to partake in a mission.
Creating the simulator was fairly easy. The girls mounted a wireless security camera to their 2011 FTC competition robot, and modified its power adapter to run on batteries using a positive voltage regulator (5V) from RadioShack. The wide-angle camera cost less than $100 and came with software that allowed the video stream to be viewed and controlled from a laptop, after being connected to a standard broadband router.
Groups of 3 kids were seated in a "Mission Control Center" with one kid operating the camera, one kid driving the robot, and one kid operating the robotic arm that attempted to collect "surface samples". These kids couldn't see the simulator that was driving on the other side of a partition (Mars), so they only had the camera feed to find the sample (rolling goal from last year's FTC challenge), capture it, and bring it back to base for analysis. Before each mission, some of the remaining kids delighted in rearranging the "Martian mountains" and hiding the sample behind one or more of them.