The UK Space Agency MURFI team haven’t been on their own testing Mars Rovers in Utah: we’ve shared the site with Rovers from Germany and Canada. In fact, it was the Canadian Space Agency CSA) who invited us along on this little jaunt in the first place. Now that the MURFI team have successfully wrapped … More MURFI goes to Canada
As we wrap up things in the MOC in Harwell, you may have noticed the variety of names that have appeared in our blog posts for various rocks and features that we’ve taken pictures of. In real space missions, naming things is a bit of a necessity. When talking amongst the team what the rover … More What’s with all the names?
Sol 8 – Mission Operations Centre (MOC), Harwell This morning the team awoke with a shared air of determination to make the most of our last day of planning, and complete our goal of choosing a suitable site to drill at the foot of a 30m high ridge we are calling “Big Mesa”. The experimental … More The Last Call
Our job as rover engineers is to keep our Q14 Space Rover fed and watered and ready for each day’s mission tasks so the science activities can be accomplished without a hitch. The rover lives with us overnight in the camp Geodome and so every morning we take the rover outside, replace the batteries with … More The role of the Rover Engineer
Although there’s a whole team of us out here in the Utah desert, as far as the MOC is concerned, there’s just one lonely rover. The rover acts like an avatar for the science team – it is the body to their brains. Instead of feet, there are wheels, instead of muscle and flesh, motors … More The Eyes of the Rover
Sol 007 has passed in a little bit of a blur – we have a plan for our drilling attempt! Today we spent our tactical planning discussion weighing up the different options for where to drill. We were very aware that the nominal mission is about to come to an end, and so time is … More Shoot and Scoot
One of the rover’s main tasks while operating on the surface is to determine the habitability of the ancient Martian environment. To do this, the rover operators have to steer the rover towards outcrops and image key rocks which can yield important information about the ancient surface conditions. Information held within the rocks can include … More Role of the field Geologists
It’s Sol 006, and we are nearing the final few days of our field trial! This also means that here at Harwell we are starting to make some big ‘no going back’ decisions about where to send the rover, and where we might eventually drill on the big day. So today we dedicated a lot … More Location, Location, Location
Today saw out Sol 5 of the MURFI field trial. But things didn’t go exactly to plan. One of the major problems of driving a rover on Mars is navigating. Mars, unlike the Earth, doesn’t have a magnetic field, meaning that we can’t tell which way is north using a compass. As such, there’s always an … More Lost in Mars – or Utah!
After all having a day off to marvel at fireworks and bonfires it was back to work bright and early, although daylight savings meant the team in Utah got an extra hour in bed. We’d asked for a lot of high resolution imagery on Sol 2 and today we got to see exactly how successful … More Day 4 – freshly rested people and rover