Lunar Loonies launch to NASA

In April we began an amazing journey to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing. If you’ve been following along, you know we won the ANGLeS challenge in July and with it a trip to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

We left on Saturday November 2nd and it was the trip of a lifetime. Our adventures at NASA took us behind the scenes to learn about the agricultural experiments happening in parallel with the ISS and those in preparation for long distance (Mars) space travel. We also learned about the mass spectrometer (MSolo) being redesigned for molecular tests on the moon.

We met an astronaut, walked in the footsteps of heroes, met several amazing women who are leaders in their fields, got up close with gigantic rocket moving and building equipment, walked around a launch pad, and stood in launch control room one.

Thank you to everyone that helped make this extraordinary trip possible. Thank you to our team sponsors, Whitefish Soroptimist, Glacier Clothing Company, Park Side Credit Union, Cosner Comtech, The Polka Dot Cow and GSMW Robotics. Thank you to Montana Learning Center in Helena and their many donors. Thank you Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming. Thank you to our family and friends. Thank you to everyone in the community that helped get us to Florida, whether you bought Girl Scout cookies, nuts or candy from the girls, attended our fundraiser with The Polka Dot Cow, mailed in a personal check, or even shared our story or fundraiser with the community. We are so thankful to everyone! Next we continue our preparation for the Montana State First Lego League tournament in January, and the NASA competition ROADs on Mars in April.

In the News! Fairfield Sun Times

The Fairfield Sun Times was the first to publish the press release from Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming about our trip.

Montana Girl Scouts Earn VIP Treatment At Kennedy Space Center

BILLINGS, MONT. — Ask three Girl Scouts from Kalispell, Montana where STEM can take them in the future and they’ll tell you it’s already taken them farther than they ever imagined.

Jessie Chadwick, Katie Eberhardy and Lexi Nunnally—also known as the Lunar Loonies—returned from a trip to Florida earlier this month where they received a uniquely personal and up close experience at the Kennedy Space Center and NASA facilities. The unique experience was earned in July when the girls participated in—and won—the Middle School Division of the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student (ANGLeS) Challenge, a national challenge celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The ANGLeS Challenge was hosted by the Montana Learning Center in Helena.

The girls, who are part of a larger all-girl Robotics team named RoboScout Squad, took on the summer challenge to build a replica of the lunar module and use a remote-controlled drone to land it on an 8-by-10-foot map of the moon’s surface. They then programmed their Lego Mindstorms robot to navigate and complete tasks on the map. The fete is impressive for anyone, but more so is the fact that the team is an all-girl team.Research shows that girls are keenly interested in STEM and excel at it. Yet, for a variety of reasons, girls often don’t pursue STEM—starting as early as elementary school.

On Tuesday, November 5th, the Girl Scouts explored the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex where they visited the Heroes and Legends exhibit and Rocket Garden. They also had lunch with Astronaut Tom Jones who spoke about the evolution of meals in space. They also visited the Shuttle Atlantis exhibit and Apollo exhibit.  

The following day, the girls received a personal tour of the NASA facilities from Steve Chance, Project Manager of NASA INSPIRE (Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience). At the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building the girls met with Dr. Janine Captain to discuss the Mass Spectrometer observing lunar operations instrument. MSolo is a commercial off-the-shelf mass instrument modified to work in space, and can identify molecules at lunar landing sites.

At the International Space Station Environment Simulator the girls heard about the Veggie Program from Dr. Gioia Massa. The Vegetable Production System (Veggie) is a plant growth system developed and used by NASA in outer space environments to provide a self-sufficient and sustainable food source for astronauts as well as a means of recreation and relaxation through therapeutic gardening.

The girls then received a tour around campus and visited the Crawler/Transporter, Mobile launch pad, the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Pad 39B and the Launch Control Center where they were given a tour by Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, current NASA Launch Director for the Artemis Program.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women hold less than 28 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs in the United States but make up more than 47 percent of the U.S. workforce. Reports show that STEM occupations are growing at double the rate of other professions.

STEM is one of four pillars that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts who participate in girl-focused STEM programs:

  • Become better problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and inspirational leaders
  • Get better grades, earn scholarships, and follow more lucrative career paths
  • See STEM as the foundation for a meaningful and successful future

The remaining pillars include OutdoorsLife Skills and Entrepreneurship.

This year Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming are sponsoring 9 all-girl FIRST LEGO League Robotics teams.

GSMW membership consists of 9,242 girls and more than 3,000 adults with national membership at 2.5 million. To join Girl Scouts or become a volunteer please visit or call 800-736-5243.

Posted at

ROADS on Mars

Who wants to join us? We will be competing in the CURIOSITY division (high school). But it’s also open to teams of 3rd-4th graders (SPIRIT) and 5th-8th graders (OPPORTUNITY). Put a team together, we’ll help you get started!

ROADS on Mars <——- NW Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline link

NBC Montana Covered Senator Daines’ Visit

Thanks NBC Montana for coming this morning and covering the Senator’s visit with RoboScout Squad today. You can see the article here.

U.S. Senator Visit

We were honored today to have a visit from U.S. Senator Steve Daines . The team demonstrated the summer NASA #APOLLO50 #ApolloNextGiantLeap challenge and showed their progress with the current First Lego League season. The girls were excited to tell them about their Apollo win at the Montana regional middle school challenge. He was engaged with each girl, interested in what they had to say and encouraged them both in Lego robotics and their future pursuits. Thank you Senator Daines for spending time with us this morning and supporting girls in STEM!

Polka Dot Success!!!

Thank you everyone, it was a great day! Whether you came out for a sweet treat or shared our post, we sincerely appreciate it! Thank you The Polka Dot Cow for doing this for us. Thank you Snappy Sport Senter for giving us a place to park the trailer!!! Thank you everyone for supporting our team and a local small business! ❤️🤖🚀. We came away with $150 from The Polka Dot Cow, and $47 in private small donations. Thank you everyone!!!! We are so thankful for your support!

Thank You Park Side Credit Union!

We are thrilled to announce RoboScout Squad received a generous $250 donation from Park Side Credit Union to support the Lunar Loonies trip to NASA. Thank you Park Side Credit Union for being champions of youth programs in our community. We appreciate your donation and encouragement! For more information about Park Side’s community involvement visit their website.

Fundraiser 8/31/19

Who likes Dole Whip? Tamarack Brewing Company Root Beer Floats? Ice Cream Sundaes? We do! We are thrilled to announce the Polka Dot Cow is supporting the ladies of RoboScout Squad and their trip to NASA.

Saturday August 31st, from 11-7 the Polka Dot Cow will be in the Snappy’s parking lot, selling their amazingly delicious Dole Whip and other cool summer treats! 50 cents from every soft serve ice cream or root beer float and $1 from every Dole Whip or specialty item will go to the girls to help with trip expenses. As always, all tips go to the Big Sky Aphasia Program.

Send the summer off like a rocket! Come out and support our trip to NASA! Thank you to The Polka Dot Cow for supporting girls in STEM.

In The News! Flathead Beacon

We met with Charlotte Bausch from the Flathead Beacon last week to talk about our team, recent win, upcoming trip and our desire to grow Lego Robotics in the Flathead. It is such a worthwhile program. Our girls are learning robotics, coding, engineering, public speaking, presentation skills and more! If you’d like to join us or support the team, let us know. Read the article.

In the News! NBC Montana

Marian Davidson did a nice follow up story to our initial story in May. Covering our success in Helena.

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