QUOTE (MahFL @ Mar 9 2005, 03:55 PM)
I think the etched terrain will be easy to drive over. I also think the rocks will be the same as at Endurance, confirming the whole plain was once wet. Victoria will just be a larger version of Endurance. The huge crater to the bottem right looks shallow so won't be all that interesting to look at imho. Where to next ?
Well - it's going to take about six months to get to Victoria - at which point we'll be on sol 550+
Given that there was 6 months of science in visiting Endurance - I think the same can be said of Victoria
That's sol 700. More than a martian year - back into Autumn and getting on toward winter again
By then - APXS and Mossbauer integrations will take a couple of days at least - so doing science will take a lot longer.
To ask the question 'where next' - is, dare one say it, a little pre-emptive
BUT - I'd do new auto-nav code that generates much smaller data volumes and can be used for multiple sols on the trot - I'd get code in there to use MRO as a relay - I'd do a full 14 filter panorama at Victoria with the extra downlink bandwidth, and head WSW - using the new autonav to cover 700m a week
Get down to a core staf f barely in double digits - get automated data onto the PDS more rapidly - and cover 3km per month minimum. My aim would be to see as many different terrain types as possible to give ground-truths for Orbital Imagery. http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/pre...2A-A0R1_br2.jpg
To that very dark crater + ejecta - looks interesting. Dont ask me where-next after there - I'd probably need therapy if they lasted that long. My answer would probably be "Oh I dont know - send them to bloody Ares Vallis for all I care!"
The tempation at that point would be to comman a drive sequence that writes "EARTHLINGS GO HOME" in the dirt and have it imaged by MRO.