It’s the start of week 2, well technically week 1, and we’ve only got a few days left to prepare before the rover begins its main mission. It was a relatively full MOC today with 9 team members including 4 newbies – myself, Stuart, Frances and Susanne, and at one point a large contingent of Chilean dignitaries including the Chilean mining minister.
The primary goal of today was to get any gaps and kinks ironed out of the daily mission operations plan which will be our bible over the next two weeks. One major issue is working out how to communicate our daily science plan (once we’ve managed to come to a consensus on what it should be) to the rover in Utah. This means translating our ‘human speak’ into ‘rover speak’, which is not the most intuitive of languages. The creation of a mock science plan and accompanying rover directions document was aided by the delivery of our first field data! Our ExoMars PanCam emulator, the Aberystwyth University PanCam Emulator (AUPE) sent us a full set of RGB and multispectral images and in between practising my future role of Science Working Team Chair I put together this beautifully colourful image giving us our first close up view of the terrain our rover will be traversing.
The field team have been instructed to take any test data outside of our designated trial region, but this was tantalising enough to get us all salivating at the thought of the geology we’ll be exploring over the next couple of weeks. On a personal note as one of the only mission members who will be working both in mission operations and out in the field I can’t wait to see this landscape for myself, fingers crossed the weather holds!