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  1. Introduction
  2. The Jezero Crater
  3. Mission Objective
  4. Mission Regulations
  5. Robot Specifications
  6. Penalties
  7. The Tournament
  8. Awards

1 – Introduction

In the not-so-distant year 2020, NASA plans to land a rover on Mars to collect rock and soil samples with the hope of one day returning them back to Earth. One of three promising landing sites is the Martian crater Jezero, an ancient Martian lake that may hold evidence of microbial life on Mars. If successful, this expedition’s samples will help us lay the basis for future Mars missions, and may one day help us uncover the secrets of our Solar System and life itself.

Mission: Jezero is a series of head to head missions to determine the optimal retrieval mechanisms for a Mars 2020 Rover. The objective is to deliver as many Samples (Surface Rocks and Core Samples) to the Mars Lander as possible. Robot design and mission strategy, combined with effective autonomous ability and careful driving, are all critical for mission success in this extra-terrestrial challenge to find life on Mars.

The BetaBots challenge is intended primarily as a learning vehicle for FIRST Robotics teams, where students build their skills and apply their knowledge in a low-stress, fun environment in preparation for the upcoming FRC season. To this end we’d like to encourage teams to prioritize student involvement during the strategizing, designing, building, and competing phases. We might even make a prize for it.

2 – The Jezero Crater

The missions take place in a simulation of the Jezero Crater, a 15′ wide by 30′ long carpeted area bordered by the Crater Rim. The Crater is divided into three zones: a central Neutral Zone bordered by two Safe Zones. Several obstacles in the crater need to be navigated by the robots to access the Samples.

Figure 2‐1 Mission: Jezero field

At the center of the Neutral Zone is the Ravine. The Ravine has three areas: a central Ridge which is bordered on the left and right by two Rock Arches. Two additional Ridges run perpendicular to the central Ridge on either side of the Ravine.

As always, teams should consult the Field Drawings for full specifications.

In each Safe Zone are two Boulders, placed in one of four set positions for the mission. Each team’s Mars Lander is located in the corner of the team’s Safe Zone. Samples are returned to the Cargo Hold of their Mars Lander.

The video accompanying this document shows the boulders on the incorrect side of the field.
Figure 2‐2 Boulder positions

2.1 – The Samples

The objective of Mission: Jezero is to collect two types of samples: Surface Rocks (5″ diameter wiffle balls) and Core Samples (4″ diameter ABS tube, 14″ tall).

Approximately 100 Surface Rocks loosely fill the Ravine.

Five Core Samples are placed at set locations in the Crater: three atop each Ridge, and two below the Rock Arches. Two of the Cores are secretly loaded with a Microbe before each mission. Teams will not know which Cores hold Microbes. Core Samples have a 2″ strip of reflective tape around the top to aid autonomous programming.

Figure 2.1‐1 Core Sample, Surface Rock, and Microbe (not to scale)

2.2 – The Mars Lander

Robots start in the Cargo Hold of their Lander and proceed down the ramp into the Crater. The Cargo Hold is a level 3’ by 4’ platform 6 inches off the ground bordered on three sides by railings to prevent robots from exiting. The railing at the back of the Cargo Hold has a 12″ long piece of 2″ wide reflective tape to aid autonomous programming. The ramp is a 3′ by 4′ diamond plate surface inclined at approximately 7° to the carpet.

3 – Mission Objective

  • Each mission lasts 3 minutes, with bonus time allotted for completing autonomous tasks.
    Table 3‐1 Mission timing
  • The mission begins with a 15 second Autonomous Period, followed by a 165 second Teleoperated Period, ending with up to 20 seconds of bonus teleoperated time.
  • see Section 3.2 - Autonomous Bonuses below
  • Robots begin each mission entirely within their Cargo Hold.
  • During the mission, robots attempt to deliver as many Surface Rocks and Core Samples to the Cargo Hold as possible.

3.1 – Autonomous Bonuses

  • Time Bonus 1: If a robot crosses into the Neutral Zone during the Autonomous Period, that team receives a 10 second time bonus to their Teleoperated Period.
    The robot’s bumper must break the vertical projection of the tape border.
  • Time Bonus 2: If a robot relocates a Core Sample during the autonomous period, that team receives an additional 10 second time bonus to their Teleoperated Period.
    The Core Sample must be moved off its starting position (by knocking it over, picking it up, etc.) by the robot.
  • Core Delivery Bonus: Returning a Core Sample to the Lander during the Autonomous Period doubles the value of all Core Samples scored by that team during that mission.
    Core Samples scored during that match are effectively worth 10 Mission Points (see 3.2 below) when the Core Delivery Bonus is in effect.

3.2 – Scoring

  • Ranking Points (RP) determine a team’s overall classification during the competition, and determine which teams proceed to the playoff rounds. see Section 7 - The Tournament, rule [T7] below
  • Mission Points (MP) are scored during a mission. The team with the most Mission Points wins that mission and earns 2 Ranking Points.
  • At the end of the mission, once the Crater has come to rest, the score is determined:
    • 1 MP is scored for every Surface Rock delivered into the Cargo Hold.
    • 5 MP are scored for every Core Sample delivered into the Cargo Hold.
    • 10 MP are scored for every Core Sample if the Core Delivery Bonus is activated.
      See Section 3.1 - Autonomous Bonuses
    • 1 RP is scored for every Core Sample containing a Microbe.
    • 1 RP is scored if the robot is in the Takeoff Position at the end of the mission (robot is entirely supported by the Lander).
    • 2 RP are awarded for a winning a mission, 1 RP for a tie, and 0 RP for a loss.
      Table 3.2‐1 Mission Points and Ranking Points
      *With Core Delivery Bonus

4 – Mission Regulations

  1. Robots operate in the Neutral Zone and their Safe Zone, but may not cross into their opponent's Safe Zone.
    • VIOLATION: If <5 seconds, foul (10pts); If >5 seconds or completely within Safe Zone, disabled
    The robot’s wheels may not touch the carpet in the opposing alliance’s Safe Zone. Egregious or strategic violations will result in a Yellow Card.
  2. Robots may store up to 5 Rocks off the ground at any time. There is no limit to the number of Surface Rocks directly on the ground under control, nor is there any limit to the number of Core Samples allowed under control at any time.
    • VIOLATION: Foul (2pts) for every additional Rock off the ground
  3. Pushing is ok, poking is not. Initiating deliberate or damaging contact with an opposing robot within its frame perimeter is not allowed. Strategies aimed at damaging other robots are not allowed.
    • VIOLATION: Red Card
    Teams should be cautious when engaging directly with other robots.
  4. Be kind to the Martian surface. Do not damage the carpet, dislodge Crater elements, touch the exterior walls with the robot bumpers, or open the Cores during the mission.
    • VIOLATION: Disabled
  5. Keep your Samples in the Crater or the Lander. Robots may not contact Samples that have left the Crater, including those outside of the Crater Rim, off of the Lander, etc. These Samples may not be returned to the Crater.
    • VIOLATION: Disabled if the robot contacts anything outside the Crater
    Additionally, strategies designed solely to deprive another team of Surface Rocks by forcing them out of play are not in the spirit of the challenge and may result in a Yellow Card.
  6. Keep pinning to <5 seconds. If a team’s robot is immobilized by the other team the referee will begin a 5 second countdown (5-count). The offending robot must separate by a minimum of 5′ and wait at least 3 seconds to reset the referee’s 5-count.
    • VIOLATION: Foul (10pts)
    Pinning does not require contact between robots. For example, a robot "blockaded" between a parked opponent and the Ridge, Boulders, or an opponent's Safe Zone could be considered pinned because the Crater elements and the parked opponent prevent the robot from meaningful movement.
  7. No grounding. Robots may not push opposing robots into a state of immobility. This includes tipping robots, beaching robots onto Boulders, pushing robots over the Crater Rim, or limiting a robot’s mobility due to sole contact with a Crater element in any other way.
    • VIOLATION: Yellow Card
    Grounding involves the displacement of one robot by another onto a field element in such a way that the grounded robot is unable to drive away within 5 seconds. If the grounded robot later manages to free itself, the offending robot will still receive the penalty.
  8. Auto means no humans. During the Autonomous Period, Drive Teams may not touch the Driver Station controls or laptop, or otherwise control the robot.
    • VIOLATION: Yellow Card

5 – Robot Specifications

  1. The robot perimeter can be up to 120″. There is no height limit.
    To determine the perimeter, wrap a piece of string around the robot (excluding bumpers) at the Bumper Zone described in R6 and pull it taut.
    Note: Minor protrusions such as bolt heads, fastener ends, rivets, etc. are excluded from the determination of the perimeter.
    Figure 5‐1 Perimeter of a robot in red
  2. There is no weight limit. That said, a maximum of two people must be able to safely lift the robot.
  3. Robots start within their perimeter. At the start of the mission, all parts of the robot (excluding the bumpers) must be fully inside the vertical projection of its perimeter.
  4. During the mission robots may extend mechanisms up to 18″ past the perimeter.
    Figure 5‐2 Robot Perimeter Extension
  5. Robots must have bumpers. Bumpers must be manufactured in the style of the 2018 FRC bumper rules using 5″ tall ¾″ plywood, 2‐½″ pool noodles, and a fabric covering. Robots that can move in any direction (mecanum, omni) must fully cover all four sides or use corner bumpers. Only one set of bumpers, of any colour, is required. Markings including team numbers are optional. Two styles of bumpers are allowed, and a combination of styles is permitted:
    • If full-length bumpers are used, they must cover the entire front and/or rear edges of the robot perimeter.
    • Otherwise, corner bumpers must cover any remaining exposed corners of the robot. They must be at least 6″ from the corner of the perimeter to the inside edge of the plywood.
    BetaBots bumpers may be reused from FRC bumpers. It is important to note that BetaBots Bumper Rules are less strict than in FRC. However it is strongly advised to be familiar with the 7 pages of bumper rules in Section 8.5 Bumper Rules on page 75 of the 2018 FRC Robot Rules.
    Figure 5‐3 Example bumpers on a robot
    Note A: If wheels are outside the frame the bumper must extend to cover the full width.
  6. The bumper zone is 0″ to 8″ from the ground.
    ALL of the bumpers, excluding mounting hardware, must be entirely within this zone
  7. FRC electrical, pneumatic, and control system rules apply.
    See Sections 8.6 to 8.9 on pages 83 to 100 of the 2018 FRC Robot Rules.
  8. Robots must be safe. Robots must not pose a hazard to the Crater, Samples, the internals of other robots, or people. Removal of Samples must be possible from an unpowered robot.
    Suggested reading: Section 8.3 Robot Safety & Damage Prevention on page 68 of the 2018 FRC Robot Rules. Robot inspectors have the final say on what is considered safe or not.
  9. The robot must be inspected prior to its first mission by a Robot Inspector. Any required changes must be made before a robot is allowed to play. Any significant changes made to the robot during the course of the competition must be re-inspected.
    • VIOLATION: Red Card for starting a mission without (re)inspection
    A modification is considered insignificant if it does not significantly affect the robot’s performance
  10. Components from previous robots may be re-used, however old assemblies must be completely disassembled before use in your 2018 BetaBots Competition robot. This does not apply to bumpers.
    BetaBots is meant to be less taxing on a team’s resources, but should still be an opportunity for students to learn. Violations will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

6 – Penalties

Table 6‐1 Penalties
Violation Foul Yellow
Robot crosses into opposing team’s Safe Zone [M1] For < 5 seconds 10pts
per infraction
Robot carries more than 5 Surface Rocks [M2] 2pts per Rock
Robot pins opposing alliance’s robot [M6] For > 5 seconds 10pts
Robot attempts to collect Samples out of play [M5]
Robot grounds another robot [M7]
Human contact with controls during Auto [M8]
Robot extends >18″ past frame perimeter [R4]
Unsafe behaviour by robots or team members (including in the PITS)
Robot damages another robot’s internals [M3]
Robot starts mission without (re)inspection [R9]
Coach contacts controls or laptop [T7]except emergency stop
2 Yellow Cards
Unsportsmanlike conduct
Robot crosses into opposing team’s Safe Zone [M1] Completely, or for > 5 seconds
Robot dislodges or damages Crater element or touches exterior walls [M4]
  1. Foul points are awarded as Mission Points to the opposing team.
  2. A team forcing another team into a foul will receive a penalty themselves instead.
  3. Yellow Cards remain with teams throughout the tournament, but are cleared at the beginning of the playoffs.
  4. If a team receives a Red Card, the team receives 0 RP, 0 Cores, and 0 Rocks for that mission.
  5. Intentional, egregious, strategic, and/or repeated fouling may escalate violations (Foul to Yellow Card, Yellow Card to Red Card, and in some severe cases foul to Red Card).

7 – The Tournament

  1. The tournament is divided into two parts, the qualification and the playoff rounds.
  2. During the qualification round, teams compete against each other in pre-assigned missions.
    The mission schedule will be provided to teams at the beginning of the day. All teams play an equal number of qualification missions.
  3. Boulder positions will be known in advance. The Boulder positions for each mission will be generated and distributed at the same time as the mission schedule.
  4. Each team must have four Drive Teams (red, blue, purple and orange), each consisting of one or two student drivers. At the beginning of the competition day, wristbands will be given to drivers to denote their Drive Team colour. Drive Team colours will be listed in the mission schedule. Students can wear only one wristband​, and may not remove or change wristbands during the tournament. An individual may not be on more than one Drive Team or change teams​. A team will not be allowed to play a mission without the correct Drive Team. If a team does not have enough drivers they will be assigned them.
    • VIOLATION: The mission may begin without that team.
    At the start of the day’s competition bracelets will be given to drive teams with their colours. Drive team colours will be listed in the match schedule.
  5. There is no restriction on Drive Teams during the playoffs.
  6. Coaches may not touch the robot controls or Driver Station laptop at any point during the mission except to disable the robot for a safety-related emergency.
    • VIOLATION: Red Card
  7. Drive teams and coaches must remain at their Driver Station during the entire mission.
  8. Only students may ask for clarification with respect to referee rulings. Students with questions should speak with the referee directly after their mission.
  9. At the end of the qualification missions, the final ranking will determine which teams move into the playoffs. Ranking is determined by the teams’ cumulative Ranking Points. Tie breaks are determined by cumulative number of Core Samples scored, followed by cumulative number of Surface Rocks scored.
    Table 7‐1 Ranking determination
    Team Ranking
    1st sort Cumulative Ranking Points
    2nd sort Cumulative Collected Core Samples
    3rd sort Cumulative Collected Surface Rocks
  10. The top six ranked teams advance to the playoffs. The top two ranked teams automatically advance to the semifinals. Teams ranked third to sixth play in the quarterfinals to secure a place in the semifinals.
    Figure 7‐1 Playoff round structure
  11. During the playoff round, winners are determined by the number of Mission Points scored. Tie breaks are determined by the number of Core Samples scored, followed by number of Surface Rocks scored. Ranking Points are not considered, i.e. there will be no bonus given for returning Microbes or finishing in the Takeoff Position during the playoffs.
  12. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, teams play head-to-head in a single deciding mission.
  13. In the finals, teams play a best of three series. The first team to win two missions wins the tournament.

8 – Awards

  1. At the event, all teams will have a private meeting with the judges with between two to four students. A team can make a presentation (preferred) or just have a free discussion about their team, their robot, and their implication in the FIRST Community.
    If a team attends multiple events, different team members must present at each event, and a different presentation must be given.
  2. Judges may also be present in the pits to observe and interact with teams. Only student team members may answer questions from judges.
  3. Judges will recognize teams' special accomplishments by presenting Machine, Creativity, or Team attributes awards based on the FIRST criteria.
    For more information about the criteria for FRC awards see: