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'Team Starling' Wins 'After Earth' XPrize Challenge

8 Oct, 2013 By: John Latchem

Mia and Zoe Goff

The Blu-ray and DVD release of After Earth, due Oct. 8 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, includes a video featuring the winning team in the XPrize After Earth Challenge contest.

Kicking off in April, the challenge set out to give students leadership and team-building experiences, while teaching them about sustainability practices, video production, building landscape models and robotics programming.

The winning team, “Team Starling,” consists of sisters Mia and Zoe Goff, ages 13 and 15, led by their father, Evan, from Missouri. Together, “Team Starling” played the role of Ranger cadets, competing in a two-stage competition that required discussions on space exploration and environmental sustainability, while applying fundamental principles of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to navigate the fictitious universe of After Earth.

"We had so much fun with the amazing learning opportunity that the XPrize After Earth Challenge provided,” Zoe Goff said.  “If given the chance, we would definitely do it all over again. It was so cool that even though we were given guidelines for our missions, we were still able to build our mission models out of our own creativity.”

Entries into the competition were submitted from young pioneers spanning four continents, with countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, India, Egypt, Hungary, Singapore, USA, and Oman.

In Phase One of the challenge, teams created a two- to three-minute video essay that answered targeted questions about the importance of space exploration, and the relationship between sustainability and survival. Judges chose the top 10 teams to move on to the final round, where they received a Lego Mindstorms kit to use for their mission and a Sony Handycam HDR-PJ230 camcorder to document their experience. They designed and built a Nova Prime landscape (playfield), upon which their robot completed a series of mission tasks in one or more of four thematic areas: natural resources, renewable energy, agriculture and shelter.

The video highlighting the winners is introduced on the disc by Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige.

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