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Endeavour Drive - Drivability analysis
Guest_Sunspot_*
post Sep 20 2008, 09:42 PM
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Is there going to be a official press release about this? Or even a media teleconference...it's certainly news worthy of one.
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RoverDriver
post Sep 20 2008, 09:44 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 19 2008, 11:52 PM) *
I'd like to see end to end HiRISE imagery before we set out - a month, maybe two - and seriously - there is still fun to be had at Victoria anyway.

How else are we going to play the part of noisy back-seat drivers?


Doug, as anticipated privately, I'm going to break out of my silent lurking. First of all let's make sure everyone understands I'm speaking for myself only, if my employer wants to speak they have their own channels and definitely I'm not one of them. That's what my signature says, and hopefully the meaning will be clear to everyone. Hopefully I won't get into trouble for posting here, I like my job and I'd like to keep it.

Speaking for myself, I did appreciate immensely the suggestions, comments and good ideas that I read on this forum. Besides keeping my morale high I picked up many good ideas from all of you. It is pretty amazing what you have been able to infer from the little information that has been released.

Is is time to hit the road. Once we extricate the rover from the current position (we tried to reach a pretty compelling science target knowing full well the likelihood of success was low) we will head for Endevour. I have seen some suggestions from you guys about paths to follow. While it is premature to analyze the terrain until we have HiRISE, I'd like to understand what was your line of reasoning behind the path, what data you used and how you made the assessment.

Paolo


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Disclaimer: all opinions, ideas and information included here are my own,and should not be intended to represent opinion or policy of my employer.
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Stu
post Sep 20 2008, 09:51 PM
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Welcome, Paolo!! Good to have you here in person rather than in (lurking) spirit! wink.gif





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SFJCody
post Sep 20 2008, 10:53 PM
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QUOTE (RoverDriver @ Sep 20 2008, 10:44 PM) *
I have seen some suggestions from you guys about paths to follow. While it is premature to analyze the terrain until we have HiRISE, I'd like to understand what was your line of reasoning behind the path, what data you used and how you made the assessment.

Paolo


The rover driver on the forum asking us about the potential routes we've come up with! Now this is surreal. smile.gif

Anyway, for this map I took a direct straight line route from Victoria to Endeavour (using a THEMIS mosaic assembled by slinted)and split it up into 'legs' determined by terrain type. I added a kink to get the rover to a moderate sized crater ('mini-Endurance') on the grounds that it would be a good window for the project scientists to check geological heterogeneity. I put the end of the journey at the hills of the western rim as the MGS hematite map seems to (maybe possibly) show a compositional difference at the visible rim of Endeavour (both west and east), although it's difficult to be certain.

Thinking about it, though, it might be better if I had put Leg A directly due east across Victoria's annulus rather than due south. That would make Leg B through the Etched Terrain more south-trending and reduce the number of times the rover would have to cross over the ripples.

You know you have one of the best jobs in the world, right? laugh.gif wheel.gif
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Shaka
post Sep 20 2008, 11:14 PM
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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,


All hail our Steersman on the Meridian Sea - Sea of Hematite!
Guiding Hand of our Quest - Pilot of our Voyager Dream! Hail! smile.gif

We each have dreamed that we stood at the helm in your place.
We would oftimes steer for the shallows, where sulfate bedrock shows itself, in promise of firm footing.
If there is no choice but the billowing sands, then hasten we where the ripple depths are less - keep to the furrow and shun the crests!

For that we need appropriate commands to the wheels. Does Oppy have this inherent software for autonomous cruising in the furrow? Then sail on!
Does your experience show the safest angle to cross the crests when unavoidable? Is the distance between crests a measure of the safety in crossing them?
Does the darkness of the ripples from orbit correlate with softness or depth of the sand? Go toward the light!

SAIL ON, O SHIP of STATE!
(oops...political...ignore previous.) tongue.gif





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RoverDriver
post Sep 21 2008, 12:25 AM
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QUOTE (SFJCody @ Sep 20 2008, 03:53 PM) *
The rover driver on the forum asking us about the potential routes we've come up with! Now this is surreal. smile.gif
...


What is surreal is a rover driver asking for directions laugh.gif

The thing is, the terrain is so vast, hazards potentially everywhere that I will take suggestions and "heads up" from all. On my end it is good because the more eyes I have the better it is. Yes, we do have many drivers and they do have the final saying, but as I said I have seen in the past some suggestions that clearly show you know your way around.

From your perspective, and as a separate attempt from Scott Maxwell's Mars 3.0, I want you to get a better taste of what it is to explore another planet. What tradeoffs you need to consider, what it means to come up with tricks to keep the rover going.

Unfortunately there will be instances where I will not be able to divulge or discuss some technical details which means certain decisions seem puzzling and contrary to common sense. Don't be alarmed and/or frustrated. Your trust in the MER team should not be diminished because I decided to start posting.

I do realize I have a great job. Not only I get to explore a planet, but I get to work with the finest minds I have ever met in my last 26 years of my engineering life. I wish you were part of all this, more than you already are, and if Scott is successful maybe you will.

Paolo


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RoverDriver
post Sep 21 2008, 12:54 AM
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QUOTE (SFJCody @ Sep 20 2008, 02:53 PM) *
...
Thinking about it, though, it might be better if I had put Leg A directly due east across Victoria's annulus rather than due south. That would make Leg B through the Etched Terrain more south-trending and reduce the number of times the rover would have to cross over the ripples.
...


OK, now think what would be the easiest and safest route to Endevour if you did not have to stop for science. I'm not saying we will not, not saying we will either because I do not know at this time how many and where the stopovers are. Let's get the ball (wheels) rolling and get some ideas out. Don't flood me with PMs or e-mails smile.gif , there is plenty of time to sit and think. Unless we find a way to flap the wings of Opportunity's deck it will take quite some time to go around Victoria. So far I heard we should drive CCW around Victoria and that part is already covered by HiRISE. How far from the rim would you keep the rover? Keep in mind that a couple of stops on the rim might be requested.

The reply is attached to this message but of course the question is for all of you. This is just an experiment, let's see what happens.

Paolo


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Disclaimer: all opinions, ideas and information included here are my own,and should not be intended to represent opinion or policy of my employer.
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briv1016
post Sep 21 2008, 01:04 AM
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There was mention how the upgraded rover software is one of the reasons they decided to even trying this incredible feat. Does anyone know if the software engineers are still on the rover team and if there are any plans to further upgrade the software?
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dvandorn
post Sep 21 2008, 03:13 AM
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I've looked at it from a trafficability standpoint on pre-HiRISE images, but assuming the darker, almost non-textured plains to the east-northeast of Victoria are analogous to the plains around Eagle and Endurance (which they resemble), it seems to me that a good route skirts along the northern border of the ripple fields that lie in the direct path to Endeavour, and then drops pretty much straight south to the north rim of the big crater.

Basically, head out north-northeast, go straight east along the flat ground north of the ripple fields, and then duck south when you're due north of the north rim of Endeavour. When the ground rises, you're there.

It keeps you out of the worst of the ripple fields for the entire trip, it brings you down onto a slightly more pronounced portion of Endeavour's rim than its northwest rim, which is almost entirely buried. It's a little more actual mileage, but stays on that flat, firm tarmac for almost the entire drive. I think that might be a good idea, especially if you have to drag a wheel. I have the nagging suspicion that if Oppy started dragging a wheel, it would never be able to safely cross a good-sized ripple again... unsure.gif

-the other Doug


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BrianL
post Sep 21 2008, 04:37 AM
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That's what appears to be the quickest route to me as well. Fredk's map shows this general approach nicely, whether it is precisely the path to take or not. It will be interesting to see whether additional HiRISE imaging supports this as the quickest route. Whether it is the most scientifically rewarding route is, of course, another matter.
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nprev
post Sep 21 2008, 05:45 AM
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blink.gif ohmy.gif biggrin.gif ...I just now got home (almost literally!) from a week in Kin-cho, Okinawa with no Internet access and figure "ho-hum, only been a week, let's see what's shakin' on UMSF"...and I see this!!! WOW! WOW! WOW!

RD, thanks so much for posting & letting us look over your shoulder from the back seat...I am beyond pumped for this new adventure!!! wheel.gif wheel.gif wheel.gif


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A few will take this knowledge and use this power of a dream realized as a force for change, an impetus for further discovery to make less ancient dreams real.
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CosmicRocker
post Sep 21 2008, 05:58 AM
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Wow! What a day in planetary exploration. Not only do we get an official announcement that many of our dreams of post-Vic exploration are about to come true, but we also learn that the exit route might take Opportunity past some parts of Victoria's rim that many have longed to see.

Could life get any better?

Then we hear from one of our favorite celebrities, an actual rover driver, who compliments the forum and all of its contributors for their ideas. Welcome, Paolo. We're happy to see you. It still is a bit surreal to me, but I'm comfortable with that. smile.gif Wow! I can't wait to see what lies ahead...


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ustrax
post Sep 21 2008, 09:58 AM
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Are we there yet?... tongue.gif

Dear Paolo, a pleasure to read you at UMSF...it just enforces my feeling, reinforced through this last years, that this place is, step by step, gathering the perfect crew to have a mission of its own... laugh.gif

Regarding your request for suggestions about a possible path to Endeavour, here's mine, not based in the nature of the terrain and safe driving but more on the scientific hotspots Oppy could find along the way making the journey more attractive...also, the average driving and distances are just guesses, two positive aspects, I believe Steve Squyres mentioned that the rover would be heading SE (is this correct?), and this path follows that course, another aspect, it is within the two years time frame that SS made reference to.


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Tesheiner
post Sep 21 2008, 10:24 AM
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Welcome Paolo! It's a real pleasure to have you here at UMSF.

First of all let me take this opportunity (no pun) to say you and the whole MER Team thanks for this incredible and unforgettable experience. The whole mission of both rovers and the way in which it is/was made available for us to follow them since the beginning (and even *contribute*, wow!) is something that, IMO, has changed the perspective from which all of us could follow the exploration of the cosmos.

Second, and speaking of route planning, I haven't yet taken the time to look at the HiRISE pictures of the terrain ahead but in the first approach to plot a "hypotetical path" I will use the following guidelines:
- Drive E when moving on flat terrain
- Drive SE when moving by the dune fields. I'm here assuming these fields follow the general direction as the ones on the path from Erebus to Victoria.
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SFJCody
post Sep 21 2008, 10:32 AM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Sep 21 2008, 04:13 AM) *
Basically, head out north-northeast, go straight east along the flat ground north of the ripple fields, and then duck south when you're due north of the north rim of Endeavour. When the ground rises, you're there.



QUOTE (BrianL @ Sep 21 2008, 05:37 AM) *
That's what appears to be the quickest route to me as well.


I'm uncertain about this approach. Seems like avoiding those ripples in the etched terrain would add a lot of extra km onto the journey, which would also be a big risk. I guess it comes down to which option presents the least threat to the rover's continued mobility.
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