Meteorite Classifier Report from Liam Pedersen
Work here is progressing slowly, but steadily. There have been a number
of technical mishaps that have delayed things. Nevertheless, they seem
to be solved and I expect trials to begin within 3-4 days.
Pirrit Hills and Martin Hills Field Trip
We footsearched both these areas, finding one meteorite at Martin Hills.
Inclement weather and the extreme cold made digital photagraphy of rocks
and spectroscopy with the current equipment impossible. The digital
camera would not operate, even though kept close to my body for warmth.
Instead, I concentrated on foot search and rock sample collection.
Approximately 20 rock samples that appeared to cover all the rock types
in the area (mostly granite) were collected and individually labelled.
Color slide photographs were taken of some of these, along with
photographs of the area and the boulder fields where we searched. These
images should be useful to train the next classifier.
Spectra of the samples have been taken back in Patriot Hills base camp,
and our currently being used with last seasons data set to retrain the
classifier for the coming tests.
Hi-Resolution Pan/Tilt Mounted Color Camera
Code to compute the image scaling [mm/pixel] was NOT implemented in the
camera-PTU code. This is essential for the classifier. To remedy this I
have done experiments with Nomad, taking images of a calibration target
at various distances from the vehicle and at various zoom encoder
settings. These have been sufficient to model the camera system
(panptilt unit, zoom lens + encoders, sony xc003 camera, and placement
upon Nomad) with enough accuracy for our purposes. Progress was
hampered by the disorganized and unfinished state of the code and lack
of documentation. It has been necessary to rewrite large parts of the
camera system code.
All the camera enclosures have suffered from interior condensation
freezing on the front glass plate and obscuring the camera field of
view. Cause appears to be small imperfections in the enclosures
allowing snow to enter, and residual water vapour. I have duct taped
the vandicam enclosure and inserted cloth bags with rice (best dessicant
available here). That appears to have solved the problem.
I have made some minor changes to the spectrometer system to cope with
some problems with the attenuator that cropped up, possibly due to
damage in transit. There is also a problem with an erratic connector,
so the system is unstable in the off robot configuration (a different
connector is used on the robot). I should like to compliment John Bates
on producing good and well documented code for the spectrometer that
made it much easier to diagnose and correct the problem.
Prior to commencing trials need to:
Remount spectrometer on robot, and install code fix. Awaiting
suitable weather to take off shell.
Retrain classifier (both image segmenter and bayes network) on latest
data from region.
Add some other minor features to camera code that are still missing.
Baring further equipment breakdowns there appear to be no insoluble
obstacles to testing in a few days.
Expedition Report from William Cassidy
Nov. 17, 1998, Tuesday: Patriot Hills Camp
The wind blowing through camp was milder this morning and the lenticular
clouds were still there. By evening the surroundings were almost windless,
and while it seems colder than it has been recently, the weather is otherwise
excellent. The lenticular clouds are gone from Independence Hills. Stewart
spent the morning with Nicolas at Camp Crickett. Nicolas was taking images
with his laser experiment and Stewart was maneuvering Nomad. Eventually
his fingertips lost all feeling and he was forced to stop.
Stewart, Christian, Fernando and Nicolas went to Nomad in the afternoon
to take some more stereo camera photos with different filters. When Stewart
opened the filter case, most of the filters blew away. Two polaroid filters
were saved, so he took stereo photos in which one set of cameras has polaroid
filters attached, and one does not. Eventually the computer in the robot
gave problems, so he had to discontinue the operation. Nicolas carried
out his own agenda of experiments.
At Patriot Hills camp, Matt tried to download his data from Nomad via
ARLAN, a wireless ethernet connection but lost it twice, forcing him to
start again each time. It will require several hours to retreive the entire
body of data, and he finally had to give up for the day. Mike and Liam
mounted the spectrometer on Nomad, to be ready for Nomad's onward trip
to the Independence Hills moraine. Sib went out to Nomad to turn it off
and found it was out of fuel, so he refueled it, ready for the next day's