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Field Report

April 20, 2003
Salar Grande, Atacama Desert, Chile

Agenda
- Autonomous navigation and power measurement
- Operations with mission planner/health monitor
- Set up for first day of science operations
- Panoramic visual odometry data collection

Status and Progress
- Traversed rough terrain. Today was a good day for some long runs
along the geologic fault that parallels our operations area. We have
been working on single-command autonomous traverse to increase the
distances Hyperion can travel without external guidance and to identify
the specific challenges to long-distance autonomous exploration.
Hyperion has accomplished three single-command traverses in excess of
400m (430m, 428m, 412m) and one traverse over 600m (607m).
- Analyzing faults. In each case where a traverse ended, Hyperion
detected a fault condition and switched from autonomous to supervised
operation. This is the function of the Health Monitor. Most of the
faults today were generated by the motor servos (in areas of soft sand
or on unconsolidated slopes), although several occurred when the
Navigator could find no path ahead or when an obstacle was at its goal.
Experiencing these particular faults is important because it tells us
what capabilities to focus on and by late in the day the controller was
revised to intelligently clear some types of servo faults and the
Navigator was updated to deal with an obstacle at its goal (and to
avoid it and move on to the next goal.)
- Exercised Mission Planner/Executive and Health Monitor. The Mission
Planner generated a path of 89 waypoints, well over 2 kilometers which
the robot worked on through out the day. The Mission Planner continues
to produce good traverse routes often just following along embankments.
The satellite map it uses is 30m resolution so it typically remains
about that distance from large-scale hazards. Continued refinement of
the automatic replanning capability has allowed Hyperion to continue to
move autonomously to the next waypoint even when complex terrain slows
its progress.
- Logged terrain models. Today we logged a number of terrain data sets
for use in improving and enhancing the capability of the near-field
terrain navigation. These data sets will be invaluable for developing
the next generation desert navigator.
- Relocated Hyperion. Tomorrow science operations begin with a team of
biologists and geologists working from satellite imagery and panoramas
collected with Hyperion SPI instrument to investigate the Atacama in
the same manner they might on Mars. Each day they will upload a series
of commands (locations and imaging/sampling operations) that Hyperion
will attempt to execute over the course of the day. At night we
download the data for the scientists to analyze and plan the next days
activities. A geologist in the field collects ground truth information
so that we can evaluate the performance of the remote geologists and
continue to refine the tools and methods they use in order to produce
more accurate remote interpretation.
- Collected SPI data set. Hyperion collected a complete stereo
panoramic image sequence of the first science investigation site.

Upcoming
- Science operations at the first investigation site

Weather
Morning: Clear, heavy dew
Afternoon: Clear, wind easing toward dusk
Evening: Clear, saw meteor break up into multiple streams

Humidity Insolation Temperature Wind

Weather data is from April 19, the last complete day of data.

Feral Dog Count: 3

Quote of the Day
" So it seems this happens every field experiment, a dog pees on the
robot."

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