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Remote Ops at NASA Ames

Debbie Schreckenghost from JSC wrote some stuff for today's entry:

Today we had an open house for Exploration to see Haughton Crater Ground Operation in action. Although the weather at the Crater looked good compared to the tropical deluge in Houston, we had a nice turnout of visitors.


Using the great visualization tools developed for this test, JSC didn't seem so remote from the Crater. Google Earth gave us the "big picture" of the survey while Viz let us watch each rover at work.


Though considerably less visually engaging, our monitoring and summarization software patiently slogged through gigabytes of data to answer such questions as "How long did GPR run today?" or "When did the Red K10 start today's survey?". Our goal was to build a daily summary for each rover that gives some insight into how well that day's survey went. To support this, we computed metrics like the distance traveled by a rover compared to the planned distance, or the rover run-time compared to time on task (i.e., time instrument payload was operating). We demonstrated the ability to derive an initial set of performance measures for autonomous survey from data exported by the rovers during the field test. We also saw potential for using these event summaries as entry points back into the giga-bytes of data for offline data analysis. A personal high point for the day was a conversation with Dave Lees, who was doing remote data analysis, when he said (to paraphrase) "You do that? I can use that."


Remote Ops started earlier today than yesterday, so we focused on getting that up and running rather than continuing any of the mapping on Drill Hill. We made a plan for K10 Red to navigate out to House Rock, a large boulder a few hundred meters from base camp. We knew roughly where we would lose the network connection, but the rovers have been working so well that we thought we should up the challenge and send them outside network range to do some mapping and return. We lost contact with K10 Red as it approached House Rock and it did lidar panoramas from two different locations about 50 meters apart before heading back toward basecamp. As it drove through the valley we picked up comms again and it drove right by. As it got to the East it continued following the plan outside of network coverage again and into the next small valley to the North, taking our first lidar scan of that area as well. After finishing that scan the rover drove back up over the ridge, reconnected to the network, and drove southeast toward the Fortress and runway. One more lidar panorama near the fortress and the rover headed back home. The full plan finished well before Ames was ready to close down remote ops, so we created another short plan to do a survey in a new location at base camp. Up until now we had taken several scans on the south side of the main tents and structures, but today we added a plan to drive around to the north side of the tents and scan some of the camp infrastructure as an analog to lunar outpost construction. The results were really cool, with 3D scans of the greenhouse, fuel drums, tents, communications equipment, differential GPS antenna, and an ATV.


I saved the navigation images from K10 Red today and made another rover's eye view movie. This movie shows K10 Red driving around the HMP Base Camp area. At one point near the end you will see the rover navigate into a corner between two tents and a fuel drum and turn around and find its way out.

All in all it was a really successful day of remote operations. It sounded like there were quite a few people stopping by Future Flight Central to see things. Pete Worden spent some time in Hab Ops talking to people at Ames as well.

Weather: Well, I'm beginning to think that mentioning what the weather is like every day isn't all that helpful. Lately every day has been pretty nice.

Quote of the Day: "You do that? I can use that."

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