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To MARS with MER - RESEARCH/ers
Michael H. Sims
Center for Mars Exploration
NASA Ames Research Center
Mikeís MER Journal: Sol 4 (Sol 4 is ~January 6, 2004)
This Journal contains informal and spontaneous comments by Mars Exploration Rover science team member Mike Sims, normally based at NASA's Ames Research Center. Mike writes: "There is nothing official, approved or necessarily even 100% accurate about my ramblings. My intention in this is to share as honestly as I can a bit of the flavor of what it is like to work on a NASA mission at the scale of a single human being and to convey something about what we are up to. My intention is that if I (and you!) make it through these Journals, you will know great deal more about Mars and what we are up to with MER. My hope is to convey a lot of information and make it accessible to even the youngest of readers." Thanks, Mike, for agreeing to allow P2K to post your thoughts online!
Since it is mid day on January 7th and Iím just getting "Sol 3" out, Iíll do just the briefest of entries for Sol 4.
Just a brief comment on Sol 4. We seem to have (maybe) figured out what was a concern about the electronics getting too hot. (Ed. note: see the JPL press releases for more information on this. http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20040106c.html) That led to a couple of days of somewhat slower actions than we might otherwise have done. I believe our best estimate for egressing (coming down from) the lander is Sol 10. (Ed. note: Itís now slipped still later, to Sol 13 or so.) In addition, on Sol 4 we continued working on trying to ďlocalizeĒ where the rover is, i.e. find out exactly where we are. Iíll talk about that more tomorrow. Today we also got more incredible images! The Microscopic Imager took a great test shot (of the roverís wheel) and the Mini-TES is beginning to get real spectral data down from the surface!
Planned rambling for my journal for some future sols (in no particular order):
How do things get named?
Clocks and time on Mars
Rocks, round, pointy, big, small, buried, color and all that
Cameras, cameras everywhere
Things we might see on the ground & how it relates to lakes, volcanoes and rocks that fell from the sky
How long does it take to call Mars and how often should we call?
Communicating with a Mars rover: how we do it
Mission and operations complexity: MER is really, really hard to do!