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Thread: Oppy starts to move

  1. #1
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  2. #2
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    It's nice to see some progress.
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  3. #3
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    I was curious about how this all happened. Was it just that the rover hit a soft spot and finally couldn't go any further, or was it a more dynamic process, (ie wind blew the fine sand into dunes around the craft while it was not operating)?

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  5. #5
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    Thanks Alan,

    You and Burmese are getting some images that I haven't been seeing on the public website.

    Do we have any idea of how far Opportunity needs to back up before it is free of this fine-powder trap?
    Forming opinions as we speak

  6. #6
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    Thanks Alan,

    You and Burmese are getting some images that I haven't been seeing on the public website.

    Do we have any idea of how far Opportunity needs to back up before it is free of this fine-powder trap? The Hazcam makes it look like it might be several meters.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  7. #7
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    I've been getting my images from here
    http://www.exploratorium.edu/mars/raw_data.html

    You can judge the distance travelled by using the marks left by the odd cutouts in the wheel which you can see in this image
    http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all...05P1235R0M1.JPG
    The wheels are 250 mm in diameter so marks are are spaced 0.8 meters apart, and the rover's wheelbase is 1.2 meters. If they back up following the tracks, assuming they don't turn to avoid the last dune they drove down, they need to cover at least 2 meters to get all 6 wheels clear.

  8. #8
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    Thanks, alan & Burmese, for keeping us up to date with Opportunity's progress over the last few days.

    I have been busy this last week with my new webpage so I haven't been reading very much about what was going on.

  9. #9
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    Steve Squyers entry for May 16 has a lot more:

    "We have begun the extraction process at Meridiani. So far we've executed three sols worth of activity. On the first one we simply straightened the wheels, which worked fine. The next two sols were executed over the weekend, and each commanded two meters worth of wheel turns. We were pleased with the outcome of those, too."

    for the full entry see:
    http://athena1.cornell.edu/news/mubss/

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by burmese@May 17 2005, 01:44 PM
    for the full entry see:
    Thanks for this link. This statement was intriguing:
    We're going to be making some very interesting strategic decisions with Spirit over the next couple of weeks.
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  11. #11
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    Todays images show that it has backed up about 10 to 15 cm. There is hope of escape.

    I'd be interested in seeing a map of the dunes around there so I can get an idea of how difficult it will be to map a path to the big crater from here.
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  12. #12
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    Nearing the end of the loose soil
    http://nasa.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportu...HTP1214R0M1.JPG
    I expect traction to improve after the next few drives.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by alan@May 23 2005, 02:33 AM
    Nearing the end of the loose soil
    I have the impression that Opportunity has backed up a total of between a foot and 18 inches. This image is from the trail it made on the way in, and looks like at least ten feet of loose powder is still in the way.

    Even so, I agree that they are getting more confident, and should be trying to get going on a new path in a small number of days.
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  14. #14
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    I guess I should explain what I think I see. When I look at the tracks I see what I believe are a series of transitions in the way the soil has been torn up. I think what happened is the wheels started to slip when one of the leading wheels broke through the crust. The slipping got worse in stages as the middle wheels then trailing wheels followed it into the trench it made.
    The right front wheel is now at the edge of the well ground soil, beyond this point the soil has rectangular pieces which were shed from the cleats. If I'm right the right front wheel is a the point where the right rear wheel started digging into the soil and should be reaching more solid ground soon.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by alan@May 24 2005, 02:46 AM
    the right front wheel is a the point where the right rear wheel started digging into the soil and should be reaching more solid ground soon.
    I see what you're saying, and agree that seems like the most likely explanation for what we're seeing.

    I'm curious to read more about what the strategy is going to be for trying to make further progress through this dune field to get toward the big crater up ahead. The pancam and navcam images from today do not look very promising for there being a possible way to get through based on what we're seeing here.

    Future rovers may need snow shoes, or perhaps some other way to change out their wheels to match the needs of the terrain.
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  16. #16
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    Here's a very recent hazcam image showing that Opportunity has backed out about two feet so far. (It's difficult to tell exactly because the rover has obscured the view of the wheels from this angle.

    http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all...IZP1314R0M1.JPG
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  17. #17
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    Thanks for keeping us so well updated, Anton! Let's hope they get the rover out of the dune soon so it can continue with the excellent work it has been doing since arrival!

  18. #18
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    I wonder sometimes about the manpower connected to the rovers.
    I've noticed that on long weekends, we often end up with extended numbers of days where there is no update to the raw image collections on the web-site (It's been six days for "Spirit" currently). Is this a reflection of the man-power required to update the web-site, or is there really no activity going on to drive the rovers, and get images from them to see where to go next? It seems like a waste for these things to sit idle, but I guess if the operational budget doesn't include holiday pay for the staff, it is understadable.
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  19. #19
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    hhaha, finally, I was becoming a lil worried about it....

  20. #20
    I wonder sometimes about the manpower connected to the rovers
    we have to rermember the mars day is different to ours and a week end here could coincide with an arkward time skedule on mars so some mars days they may just soak up a bit of sun power and leave the decisions and movements till the next mars day.

    they have lots of time and pauses but there are no second life as in a vidio game

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by antoniseb@May 24 2005, 02:29 PM
    Future rovers may need snow shoes, or perhaps some other way to change out their wheels to match the needs of the terrain.
    Perhaps there is need to rethink our ways of motility and not stick to wheels - at least, not all alone by themselves - when there is no human or robotic mechanic - no AAA on call - to get out of the vehicle to see what is stuck and to push or repair. In absense of this, which tend to we take for granted living on earth, one has to devise its substitute.

    Perhaps it would be smarter to go back to a robotic monkey, (- ape, chimp, anything roughly resembling human plus physical capabilities -), that is to say monkey shape and function rover, with wheels for ease of mobility, that could put down a claw (or two or four as needed) and push up the vehicle - jump, so to speak - when stuck; or stay put with the claw when skidding, not unimaginable on a planet with icy surface.

  22. #22
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    Originally posted by drjgokhale@Jun 2 2005, 03:47 AM
    Perhaps it would be smarter to go back to a robotic monkey, (- ape, chimp, anything roughly resembling human plus physical capabilities -)
    Bring on the Emperial Walkers
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  23. #23
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    Opportunity images from the laast week or so have just been posted.
    The rear hazcam is the only one showing the most obvious signs of progress, as the pancan and navcam are both pointing the wrong way.

    Unfortunately for getting a perspective on the whole thing, the hazcam is pointing very close to the wheels (this is a good thing really, it's giving clues as to why the rover is making what progress it is).

    These images are from two days ago.
    http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all...unity_r481.html
    BTW, at this time, the Spirit raw images have not been updated.
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  24. #24
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    Opportunity is making good progress and the left front wheel appears to about done with 'pushing' dirt and get on top now.

    http://qt.exploratorium.edu/mars/opportuni...T4P1214L0M1.JPG

  25. #25
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    I see Opportunity is making some progress! How much longer do you think it might take, Anton, before the rover is free at last & able to turn around & examine the sand dune it had been stuck in for all these weeks?

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