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Professional Level: Venus Escape

SWE: Society of Women Engineers

A sudden atmospheric storm has shortened your Venetian mission. Your rover has collected several rock and atmospheric samples for NASA's finest scientists to analyze. However, in order to leave Venus you must launch from the correct position on the planet so that you have enough fuel to get on the trajectory home. Your launch site is several miles away, but be advised you must navigate out of the canyon, over the dry lake bed, and through thick gaseous clouds. Good luck!

P.S. NASA has just informed your team that Venus' atmosphere is being peppered by chunks of destroyed asteroid.


All teams will start in the short maze segment. The will receive 100 points for traveling through the “canyon” which then opens to a section with no walls and a taped line to the beginning of the tunnel. For traveling through the open section (aka dried lake bed) each team will receive 100 points. The tunnels are made of the wood maze section and covered with yellow saran wrap to represent Venus’ acid clouds. The first segment of this tunnel has a black tape line that is laid down the center and makes a left through the rest of the tunnels.

Note: The saran wrap will be removed and repositioned each time a robot needs to be removed from the tunnel area; therefore the saran wrap will be relayed differently each time. It will not necessarily be laid evenly or straight. The base is a yellowish/brown color and the tape is standard black electrical tape.

Option 1:

However, the first segment has an opening in the back which exits the tunnel section. If this course is taken, it opens straight into the asteroids for which the points allocated to traveling the rest of the tunnel section will not be awarded.

Option 2:

The way to receive all the points is to follow the taped line and not go through the first opening. This takes the robot through the clouds. 300 points are awarded for not taking the back exit and reaching the next corner. The next segment of the tunnel is worth 50 points, the U-turn is worth 150, and the last segment of the tunnel is again worth 50 points.

Once the Robot has left Venus (exited the tunnel), it enters the asteroids, which are halved Styrofoam balls glued to the plywood. These are placed with enough distance to make it around any of them, but with no taped path and no walls around the area. The ultimate goal is to get into the taped box (worth 50 points) at the other side of the asteroids and play a song. Getting to the opposite side of the asteroids, but still on the plywood base (overshooting is allowed) is worth 150 points. If the robot can not make it to the box the song may be played at any point in the game for 50 points.

Scoring Table

100 for the canal

100 for the dry lake bed

300 for the first corner of the maze section

50 for the second length of maze

150 for the U-turn

50 for the last length of maze

150 for the asteroid belt

50 for getting in the taped box

50 for playing “Venus” song

Building Instructions:

A 19/32” 4x8’ sheet of plywood is used for the base. The thickness is only important for the structure of the walls and to make them more robust. Thinner plywood can be used but the walls may need to be supported with other methods.

The walls are made of 1”x8”x8’ sheets of whitewood. The walls are actually 7.25” tall, so the robots will have to be shorter in order to go under the cellophane which is stretched across the top of the walls through the last portion of the tunnels.

The plywood and wall segments will be predrilled to allow the 3” wood screws to be screwed in through the bottom of the plywood base holding the walls to the plywood. These screws are recommended to be placed roughly every 8”, but on walls without joints it is recommended that they are placed closer together. Angle brackets can be used to help support the lone walls on the outside and underside of the wood in such a way that does not effect the game area.

The yellow paint will be on the base through the portion of the maze up to the area that is “outer space” where the asteroids are. The outer space portion of the base will be painted black. The walls will stay the color of the untreated wood.

I tape line will run through the middle of the maze, except in the starting portion (the furthest side from the asteroids), up until the outer space section.

Bill of Materials:

Materials Description and Codes Store Price Quantity Subtotal
Black Latex Paint ColorPlace Flat Latex Item #: 7874241261 Wal-Mart 4.96 1 $4.96
Banana Latex Paint ColorPlace Flat Latex Item #: 7874241261 Wal-Mart 4.96 1 $4.96
Electrical Tape 3M black electrical tape 66ft (also use leftover APICS yellow tape) Home Depot 0.60 1 $0.60
Wood Screws 1 5/8" drywall screws Item #: 764666103191 15/8CSDWSC1# Home Depot 4.11 1 $4.11
Plywood Base 19/32" 4x8 plywood Model #:166081 Home Depot 13.95 1 $11.99
Wood Walls 1x8" - 8 No. 2 Whitewood Model #: 914835 Home Depot 7.35 2 $14.70
Syrofoam Balls (6 pk), upc # 046501936547 Wal-Mart 4.49 1 $4.49
Celephane Clearphane Orange Hobby Lobby 2.99 1 $3.49
Total Price $49.30

Drawings: note: New drawings were posted at 6:30AM January 27, 2007

Drawing 1
Drawing 2
Drawing 3

Photos - (SWE_Pix.zip): ((This file is in zip format. ))