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September 7-8, 2004
Salar Grande, Atacama Desert, Chile

Refine position estimator and rover controller
Repair environmental station
Test panoramic image collection
Set up long range wireless communication
Finalize second field site

Status and Progress
Continuing position estimator development. We continue refinement of the position estimator as understanding of the rover kinematics and response in terrain improves. The position estimator requires models of predicted rover behavior in response to drive commands and models of sensors (accelerometers, gyros, inclinometers, and wheel encoders) that measure behaviors. It has taken time to work out interactions, and since this component was developed and tested on the Hyperion platform, to account for all the difference between rovers. We have not yet quantified performance in terms of accuracy of the position estimate but will clearly continue refinement over this field season.

Rover motion controller verified. The performance of the motion controller has been verified and Zos steering response is excellent across the 0.0-0.7m/s range for all steering angles. Well work with this for the near turn and return to is later in the field season to fully quantify performance and to push it to 1.0 m/s for a limited steering angles.

Environmental station logging. The environmental station has been logging data but its computer interface (which extracts and processes data) is not functioning. Initially the hard disk was suspect but that has checked out and failure of the processor board appears the likely cause. We will shut down data logging temporarily to diagnose the hardware problem.

Test panoramic imaging. We verified function of the stereo panoramic imager and successfully collected full-resolution color panorama. We confirmed color saturation and imaged color targets for initial examination of color and that the down sampling works.

Located next science site. An advance team traveled 700km south to the second field investigation site to arrange logistics and identify cargo drop (near an abandoned railway station) and base camp locations. Site C is in the interior of the desert and is more arid than Site B where we are now near Salar Grande. The interior desert will pose difference challenges to navigation and to Zos science instruments. It seems we will also have excellent logistic support at this site thanks to the efforts of our Chilean team members. This is a great benefit to the effectiveness of our investigation.

Mornings: Clear, cool 9-10C, humidity 70%, light dew
Afternoons: Clear, light breeze 5kph with gusts to 15kph, warm 24-25C, humidity 40%
Evening: Occassional cloud, breeze 10kph at sunset, cool 10C, humidity 65% and climbing

Quote of the Day
"jitterbugger prorate avery drape vestige tome"

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