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August 31, 2004
Salar Grande, Atacama Desert, Chile

Agenda
Assemble rover
Set up satellite communication

Status and Progress
Assembled Zo. Zo is the name we have given to the newly configured rover we are testing in the Atacama this year. After analyzing of the results of our 2003 field experiments with Hyperion we identified 12 major configuration changes needed to support the science investigation. Driven primarily by the requirements to incorporate the mass, power, and computing for on-board scientific instruments and by the need to effectively access sites of interest to science, we designed a chassis with payload capacity and drive train for speed and slope climbing. Today we began assembling Zo and completed the chassis and electronics. Tomorrow the instruments and solar array.

Established logistics support. Once again this year Sociedad Punta de Lobos, S.A., which mines salt at Salar Grande, has agreed to provide logistical support for food and fuel to our project. SPL's support greatly increases our efficiency and abilty to focus on the technical experiments and science investigation. Thank you SPL.

Established satellite communication. Our communication link is being provided by Telefonica Mundo. Their team arrived at our base camp and assembled and pointed a 1.2m dish that will allow 256kbps internet access. (This means that this year there will be no late-night driving to reach internet access.) The link is up when we provide power, so not continuously. Telefonica's support enables us to conduct remote science investigations with data download comparable to a planetary mission, about 100MB per day. Thank you Telefonica.

Upcoming
Complete rover assembly, install instruments and solar array.
Complete satellite communication
Finalize operation and science sites

Weather
Morning: Thin clouds, calm, 12C, humidity 80%, dew
Afternoon: Clear, strong breeze peaking 37kph, 27C, humidity 30%
Evening: Clear, calm, cool.

Quote of the Day
"Zoe and P-Mad will be watching our camp."

For more information on Life in the Atacama see: http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/atacama
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