2018 Mission Possible

Event At a Glance

VA ModificationsNone
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Natl Mission Possible Page


Prior to the competition, participants will design, build, test, and document a Rube Goldberg-like device that completes a required Final Action through a series of chemical, mechanical, and electromagnetic actions.

Building Event Policies

Event Rules

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During our tournaments, VASO will enforce only those clarifications issued by VASO; National clarifications and FAQs will not be valid in Virginia tournaments.

Clarification requests are closed for regional tournaments. All outstanding clarifications, with the exception of regional-specific room dimensions required by the rules, will be posted by midnight, January 13. Clarification requests will open again for States after the last regional.

VASO Clarifications

Jan 13, 2018 Rule 4.b.iii. - What qualifies as an exothermic action?
An action that satisfies this rule need not be a chemical reaction.
Jan 11, 2018 Rule 3.j. - Are NiCad and NiMH batteries allowed, even though some contain small amounts of lithium?
Yes. The National SO Battery Policy has been amended to allow this.
Dec 27, 2017 Rule 4.b.i. - In "originally was at least 20 cm away", does "originally" refer to the time of the device’s activation or the time of the initiation of task 4.b.i.?
To earn points, the 20cm distance must be traversed solely by the inflation of the balloon. If the balloon is moved closer to the next task during the operation of the device by means other than inflation, it will not be judged as traversing the entire distance.
Dec 26, 2017 Rule 2.d. - May flammable gases be used during setup to preheat nonflammable device materials?
The only allowable flammable gas is a butane cigarette lighter.
Dec 24, 2017 Rule 4.b.vii - If the pulley system has a movable pulley portion connected to the object, is this movable portion considered part of the object?
The movable portion of the pulley system is not part of the object. It does not contribute to the mass measurement (which will be taken when the object is detached from the pulley system) and cannot initiate the next action.
Dec 21, 2017 Rule 2.d. - Are lead solder joints considered “lead objects” or otherwise hazardous?
Dec 21, 2017 Rule 3.c. - The wording of this rule could be interpreted to require all devices to use a mechanical timing step, such as that of 4.g. Is this the correct interpretation?
There is no requirement for a mechanical timing step in the device.
Dec 21, 2017
Append to rule 4.i. - If a task is touched in such a way as to directly initiate the next task in the sequence, both tasks score zero. If a task is touched to allow the task to complete only its own action, no penalty is given to the next task.
Dec 12, 2017 Rule 5.e. - Do multiple connected batteries count as "one battery source"?
Multiple batteries connected together and used as a single electrical source count as a single battery for the purposes of this rule, as long as the assembly complies with all other event rules and the SO Battery Policy.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 2.d. - What is considered a "controlled" flame?
For the purposes of Mission Possible, a "controlled" flame is one in which the fuel source for the flame is limited so that the produced flame is kept as small as possible. The flame should be shielded from the rest of the device so that it only impacts upon the intended target and does not provide a fire hazard to the rest of the device. Furthermore, the flame should burn out quickly, not produce any additional flames, and produce a limited amount of smoke. Participants are reminded that the event will be held indoors in rooms equipped with smoke detectors and it is the expectation that the device does NOT set them off. Fuel sources such as flammable liquids or gases, chemicals such as magnesium ribbon, and compounds such as gunpowder are unsafe and should not be permitted in a device. If the event supervisors have any doubt about the safety of an item or process, they are encouraged to err on the side of caution.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 3.f. - Is a microprocessor considered a movable/adjustable physical device?
To limit team expenses, VASO will not consider a microprocessor a movable device. Thus a single microprocessor may be used for multiple actions. For teams participating in out-of-state tournaments, note that this clarification is in opposition to a National FAQ.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 3.j. - May we use sealed lead acid batteries?
No. Sealed lead acid batteries are not allowed. They would be considered hazardous material per Rule 2.d.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 4.b.iv. - The rule states "Add water to a closed container so that it completes an electric circuit and begins the next action." What does "it" refer to - the water or the closed container?
The word "it" refers to the water. The addition of the water to the container must complete an electric circuit that begins the next action.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 4.b.iv - What defines a "closed container"? Would it need to be completely sealed or just enclosed to prevent spills?
A container will be considered "closed" if nothing spills out of it.
Dec 11, 2017
Append the following to both rule 4.b.v. and 4.b.vi - Either the beam's initiation or its interruption may begin the next task.
Dec 11, 2017
Append the following to rule 4.b.x. - The quarter must flip while airborne, not while touching another surface.
Dec 11, 2017 Rule 4.g. - If the timer itself is mechanical or chemical in nature, but triggers a passive sensor or completes an electrical circuit, does it receive a penalty for being an electrical timer?
No, it does not receive a penalty as long as the electrical component does not contribute to the timing function. For teams participating in out-of-state tournaments, note that this clarification is in opposition to a National FAQ.
Dec 10, 2017
Three sections should read:
  • 4.b.vi. Use light to initiate a chemical reaction to begin the next action.
  • 4.b.xi. Use a thermal reaction a change in temperature which expands a gas to activate such that the expanding gas activates the next action.
  • 4.f. Timing and scoring begins when a competitor pulls a magnet from the device and Timing stops when the ...
Nov 1, 2017
Append the following to rule 3.b. - In addition, the device must contain at least one intermediate action between the two. This intermediate action must be an attempted scorable action as defined in 4.b.
Oct 23, 2017
Setup Time and 5.c.i. Scoring.

Mission Possible setup time is divided into two parts for each team, Group and Individual:
  • Group setup is the first 15 minutes of each session for all teams in that session. At the conclusion of this time, competitors may not touch their devices until their individual setup time begins.
  • A team's individual setup time begins immediately after that team explains its device and ASL to the judges and ends immediately before that team runs its device. Teams may use individual setup to initiate or adjust time-, motion-, or reaction-sensitive elements immediately prior to running.
  • Individual setup lasts for a maximum of two minutes, after which the device must be run. Individual setup beyond two minutes is a competition violation.
  • Rule 5.c.i. does not apply, i.e., no points will be awarded for staying within the setup time limits.
Oct 13, 2017
Rule 4.d. - Two identical An Action Sequence Lists (ASL) must be submitted to the event supervisor at impound.
Sept 5, 2017
Impound: Although Nationals declares this to be an Impound event only at States and Nationals, VASO will also have this as an impound event at its regional tournaments.