We got a bit of a slow start this morning. We were finishing packing up and saying goodbye to a bunch of researchers who were here over the past few weeks. They were all waiting to fly out on the Twin Otter that was coming in, taking photos, exchanging contact info, that sort of stuff. We finally got the robot and the team moving out to Drill Hill. Pascal drove the HMMWV with a network access point and a bunch of rover tools and support gear. The rover rode over on the back of the Mule, and the rest of the team followed by ATV. For the rover team, this was our first day in the field all day. Here's a photo of our "FieldOps" setup. Rather than disassemble the rover shed and take it to the test site, we used the Humvee as a portable shelter. This saves time on setup and teardown, which helped us a lot.
K10 Black carried out 3850 m of autonomous surveying today in about 5 hours. The rover carried out an east-west aligned transect survey with 50 meter row spacing, from around 1:00 to 3:30. At the end of the first plan we uploaded the next plan, which was a north-south aligned survey with 50 meter row spacing again, and got the rover going shortly afterward still running the same base controller. The rover finished the north-south survey around 5:45. We packed everything up, put K10 Black in the Mars-1 HMMWV to keep it safe overnight, and drove back to base camp for dinner. The two plans combined covered 3697.25 meters, and the rover logs show a total traverse of 3850 meters. Here's a couple of photos of K10 Black conducting the survey.
And here is a screenshot from Google Earth showing the plan for today, where the rover actually covered, and what we plan to cover tomorrow.
Operations were incredibly smooth. We're really pleased that the rovers are working so well and that operations were completely hands-off for the whole afternoon. Pacal seems really impressed with how things are going. Pete Worden visited us at the remote test site today and saw operations up close as well. He walked with the rover for a while as well. Tomorrow we will be pretty ambitious and try to operate two rovers at two sites. We thought we wouldn't do this but with the way that several things came together between doing remote ops from Ames this week and trying to finish the Drill Hill survey it seems like it is worth trying. If tomorrow goes as well as today I think it will be no problem. Weather: Today was pretty crisp in the morning but overall a nice day. I finally broke out my warmer jacket this morning since it was so cold when I got up, but by the time we were on Drill Hill in the sun and the wind calmed down it got pretty pleasant. The thermometer at basecamp says it was 2 C early this morning and 11 C in the late afternoon. Quote of the Day: "I'm coming out to Drill Hill. Is there anything you guys forgot to bring out with you?" "Yeah, coffee... And uh, coffee mugs."