Rover update: Today we operated both rovers for a few hours with JSC connected over the satellite link for remote operations. K10 Red was carrying out a lidar survey that we manually laid out, and K10 Black was conducting a set of parallel transect surveys of an area just North of basecamp. The test went well, with K10 Red driving a total of 1532 meters, and K10 Black driving a total of 2561 meters today. The test scenario had the rovers mostly driving by themselves, but the team at JSC took over control of the rovers a couple of times to test remote driving and switching control between operations centers. Here are the rovers conducting surveys. Their trajectories got close enough that we got this picture of the pair of them.
Team update: This morning we had a public outreach event at NASA Ames to celebrate First Footsteps, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Chris McKay, Pascal Lee and I were on a live video link back to Ames talking about the research being done here and answering questions. The event was held at the Exploration Center dome at Ames, and was also taped to appear on NASA TV later.
In the early evening a Twin Otter flight arrived, bringing two Ames scientists and an engineer from Hamilton-Sunstrand. Some of the folks from the SpaceRef/Challenger Centers who had been sharing workspace with us left on that same plane. They were really great to interact with, hopefully we'll get to work with them again some time.
After dinner the K10 team and a bunch of others took a ride out to the Inuksuk site nearby to see the sculptures and to assess the area for robotic surveys. There is one Inukshuk that was built a few years ago in honor of the Columbia crew and astronaut Michael Anderson. A group that was here last week built another next to it to commemorate the Space Shuttle Challenger. You can find out more about their project here. Here's a group photo at the site:
I also didn't post an entry yesterday, but I thought I should put up this photo. Yesterday we got a tour of the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse, a research facility at HMP basecamp. Here is Alain explaining the systems and research going on in the greenhouse.
Weather: Today was a great day for both the video link to Ames and the rover testing. It was clear enough and warm enough that we did the video link outdoors so that folks at Ames could see the incredible landscape. The weather held throughout the day. The temperature hovered around 11 C mid-day and dropped down to about 6 C this evening.