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October 1, 2004
Guanaco Camp, Atacama Desert, Chile

Agenda
• Reconfigure and calibrate environmental monitoring station
• Work on sun tracker and spectrometer
• Navigate autonomously

Status and Progress
Assembled environmental monitoring station. New components have been installed and configured. The sun tracking spectrometer was tested and calibrated. Everything is ready of installation tomorrow.

Working spectrometer. After a re-implementing the hardware driver to correct problems with data buffering and blocking, the VNIR spectrometer is now working as an integrated element of the rover. Zoe’s high-level autonomy software can now command the instrument to optimize (adjust and balance its gains) and the collect spectra via its pan-tilt mounted optics.

Tested sun tracker. We conducted a series of tests with the sun tracker to determine the proper offset and compare its performance to the position estimator, which integrates a gyro to determine the rover’s orientation. The sun tracker is still occasionally off in its orientation estimate but its results track very closely with the inertial estimate. Some issues still remain as we discover when the robot is stationary but the solar orientation estimate slowly changes. Since it is an absolute measurement from a single image of the sky it cannot drift so some problems remain.

Navigated autonomously. We exercised Zoe today navigating autonomously between locations around the mine site. We are working to better tune the stereo vision system as it occasionally sees phantom obstacles that it then navigates around. We also fabricated “eyebrows” for the navigation cameras to block glare from late day sun. The performance at reaching goals is mostly acceptable but accuracy could improve based on our understanding of what we should be able achieve with Zoe’s sensors. The graphic illustrates Zoe’s persistence over several hundred meters in reaching goals (all were met) despite having to wander around real and the occasional phantom obstacle.

Upcoming
• Move Zoe to the "landing site"
• Conduct autonomous science and navigation experiments

Weather
Morning: Partly cloudy, cool 9C, light wind, 15kph, dry humidity 20%
Afternoon: Clearing some stratus clouds, warm 26C, humidity 30%
Evening: Clear, cool 10C, calm, humidity 30%

Quote of the Day
"Si, claro. … si, claro, … si, perfecto." "Claro." "Yeah, perfecto."

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