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Field Report

April 25, 2003
Salar Grande, Atacama Desert, Chile

Agenda
- Remote science investigations on west side of salar
- Endurance test of mission planning/executive and navigator

Status and Progress
- Concluded remote science investigation. We concluded the fifth day of remote science operations by collecting sample data sets from the traverse down the salar. In total Hyperion 28 data sets of imagery, spectra and fluorescence microscopy. We will be analyzing these data sets in the coming year, both to better understand the biology and geology of Salar Grande and to design the instruments and methods for our investigation next year. This year also provided many important lessons for ensuring effective science investigations and operations. The remote science exercise was invaluable preparation for future long-distance traverse.
- Conducted endurance navigation experiment. After finishing collecting science data at the extreme south of our operational area we gave Hyperion a goal to the northwest approximately 3 kilometers distant. The Mission Planner computed a minimum time and energy path and generated waypoints every 30m (the resolution of the digital elevation model). Hyperion began executing the plan traveling 10s meters per command. The area of its departure was soft sand with slopes exceeding 20 so there were several instances Hyperion required a few moments of supervised teleoperation to guide it to a best path to avoid local terrain features. Hyperion has very little difficulty with near-field navigation (1-6m ahead) however we have verified that far-field navigation (5-30m ahead) as an important technical challenge to this work. Still in this rolling terrain Hyperion did achieve 580m (+/-5%) from a single command. Analysis of ground truth data will confirm the exact distance.
- Achieved single-command, 1km navigation. In late afternoon Hyperion achieved a distance of 1160 (+/-5%) in a single command from the operator. This command, a goal location, was processed by the Mission Planner to generate a best path, and the Mission Executive then commanded waypoints to the Navigator, which evaluates near-field terrain and avoids obstacles. Hyperion was traveling rolling terrain with slopes limited to 15. Its long run was stopped as the sun set and stereo cameras were unable to distinguish obstacles in the terrain ahead. One kilometer single-command traverse is something that must be repeated thousands of times to be completely reliable, but it is an important achievement for it to reach this distance for the first time.

Upcoming
- Endurance navigation
- Soil mobility and locomotion power experiments.
- Communications system tests ( VHF long range transmission)

Weather
Morning: Clear
Afternoon: Clear and bright
Evening: High clouds, cloudy by sunset

Vulture Count: 4

Quote of the Day
"Radio check, radio check?" "Czechoslovakia." "Wow!"
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