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GEAR Competition


Mission to Hubble

The objective of the game is for teams to use their remote-controlled machines to service the Hubble Space Telescope by replacing old gyroscope/battery units (GBUs) with new ones that must be retrieved from a “Space Tug”. Each machine is attached to a pivoting arm operated by one of the team members while the other team member operates the remote-control unit. Magnets hold the GBUs in place on both the Hubble and the Space Tug.

The old GBUs (which are 1 quart paint cans with plastic knobs) must be removed from the Hubble and placed into the Space Tug. New GBUs retrieved from the Space Tug must be inserted into the receptacles on the Hubble, but only after first deactivating the receptacles by turning off the power switch on the face of the Hubble. Inserting a GBU into the Hubble without first removing power results in a blown receptacle that can no longer receive a GBU. Once the new GBUs have been installed, the power switch must be turned back on to activate the new GBUs (and increase their scoring value).

In addition to serving as a storage receptacle for old GBUs and a source for new GBUs, the Space Tug also contains a booster motor. A team must give the booster motor to one of the neighboring teams, and that team must place the booster motor in the special booster receptacle on the Hubble. A team cannot place its own booster motor into the receptacle on the Hubble, nor can they retrieve a neighboring team’s booster motor directly from the Space Tug; the booster motor must be exchanged “in flight.”

Space Tug with new GBU's and the Booster

Robot Mounting Arm 

No points can be scored in a “blown” GBU receptacle. A game piece only scores when it is placed into its respective scoring area as detailed in the field diagram. The position of the game piece at the end of the match determines whether or not it scores. The position of the switch at the end of the match determines the point value for all new GBUs in the Hubble receptacles. The power switch only scores points the first time it is switched off and the order in which the power switches are deactivated is used to resolve ties.

Point values for the various game pieces are detailed below: 

Old GBU in Space Tug receptacle 4 pts
New GBU in Hubble receptacle
    With Power Switch Off
    With Power Switch On

2 pts
8 pts
First Deactivation of Power Switch 2 pts
Booster Motor in Socker 24 pts (each team)

Game pieces that are released on the floor are considered to have drifted off into space and therefore are out of play. Machines are not allowed to use the floor as part of their function (e.g., to deploy an arm); however, there is no penalty for making unintentional contact with the floor. The arm must be in the docking bracket at the start of the game. The Arm Operator must keep both hands on the control bar and is not allowed to touch the game pieces or any of the other field elements. Teams are not allowed to retrieve pieces from Space Tugs other than their own.

San Antonio BEST Award Results:

  1. Saint Mary's Hall School*
  2. United Engineering and Technology Magnet*
  3. Golden Crescent Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (GCAME)*
  4. Holy Cross High School*

Competition Results:  

  1. Stacey High School*
  2. Highlands High School*
  3. Saint Mary's Hall School*
  4. Holy Cross High School*
  5. New Braunfels Home School
  6. East Central High School
  7. Saint Anthony Catholic High School 
  8. Marshall High School

* six teams advancing to Texas BEST from SA BEST

Other Awards:

  • Founders Award - 
    1. Medina Valley High School
    2. T. A. Edison High School
  • Most Robust - Stacey High School
  • Most Photogenic - Highlands High School
  • Best Table Display and Interview - Golden Crescent Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (GCAME)
  • Most Spirit and Sportsmanship - United Engineering and Technology Magnet
  • BEST T-shirt - South San High School and Kazen Middle School
  • BEST Use of Game Theme - New Braunfels Home School

The complete seeding competition results and final competition results are also available.