15. Nov. 10, 1998, Tuesday: Patriot Hills Camp

Woke around 6 a.m. to find Liam still pecking away at his computer. No wind, and it seemed warmer than usual outside as I made a necessary trip to the local jet fuel drum with a funnel in the top. I went to sleep again and Liam reminded me around 9 a.m. that it was breakfast time. I decided to pass on breakfast and slept until about 11 a.m. Liam was still working, but now aided by Stewart. Liam has two problems with his spectroscopy project. One is that the spectrometer currently is not working, and this is probably a physical problem of some sort. The other involves the high resolution camera that he uses to obtain an image of an object. The code for this program was written by someone else, so it is difficult for him to figure out. He needs the slant distance from the hi-res camera to the object in order to calibrate the size of the object, and he and Stewart apparently got what looks like an acceptable solution to this written into the code. This afternoon he was outside checking image sizes against measured distances to compare the truth with the computer estimates. He also placed little bags of rice in the hi-res camera housing, hoping to absorb some of the moisture that accumulates in it.

Stewart made some modifications that should help with the backing up problem: he tilted the laser upward slightly and introduced a slight inhibition into the mapping procedure. This will help Morphin to see further out and should help it to select the best alternative route. Stewart worked most of the day trying to solve the problem. Finally, aided by Christian, who repeatedly placed himself in Nomad's path as an obstacle, he believes it has been solved: Nomad still does not maneuver in such a way that it can avoid backing up, but now detects obstacles with enough time to be able to stop more than a meter away. At the end, the robot stopped running but this is a problem for tomorrow.

There may be an ANI Herc flying in tomorrow, and many postcards and letters were written in anticipation of this. Snail-mail may still be the best way in Antarctica!

Tonight Pascal, Matt, Liam, Alex and I had dinner with ANI. A large contingent of Chileans was also invited and there were a few words exchanged to indicate that this year the two groups seemed to be working more closely together, and that this was good.