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ESA publication on SAFER

Today ESA published the 3rd article on the SAFER field tests, please visit the ESA website: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering/ESA_rover_completes_exploring_Mars-like_desert

Intermission – The Atacama

After the post on Guillermo’s talk we felt that we should share a bit more about the location of the SAFER trials the Atacama desert. Gerd Hudepohl from ESO has used the chance of working within this amazing place to document some of the most interesting and amazing parts with his skills in photography. We invite you to visit his website and look at his gallery to see more of Chile, the Atacama, life in the Atacama and the Paranal Observatory:

http://atacamaphoto.com/

And to find out even more, there is a nice piece on youtube about the Atacama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fnmtPB_xpk

SAFER team celebrate

SAFER team celebrate

The work is far from over, the study team will continue analysing data and publishing results but for now the field trial part of the trial is over. Both the Atacama team and RCC celebrates the end of the successful trials.

credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

note: this in not the entire RCC team credit: Lorraine Moody (Catapult)

note: this in not the entire RCC team
credit: Lorraine Moody (Catapult)

No burst tyres, dust devils or bears can stop these teams.

ESO publication on SAFER project

ESO has published a news article on the SAFER trials. Note that this was the second trial in the Atacama, about one and a half year ago a different consortium completed the SEEKER long range navigation trials not far from where SAFER operated. For the ESO publication please visit the ESO website:

http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann13085/

A visitor this morning

A visitor this morning

We had a surprise visitor during breakfast today. Even this dry desert is full of life. credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

We had a surprise visitor during breakfast today. Even this dry desert is full of life.
credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

More LCC images

More LCC images

More LCC images showing the layout of the camp:

Long range wireless pointing to Paranal. We have named the rocks next to the antenna. credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

Long range wireless pointing to Paranal. We have named the rocks next to the antenna.
credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

and people hard at work:

A dry and cold morning with limited shelter, but luxury of internet. credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

A dry and cold morning with limited shelter, but luxury of internet.
credit: Gerd Hudepohl (ESO)

LCC today

LCC today

Today is a particularly windy day. To quote Andy: “It is windy, windy, windy, dusty and dry but the sun is out.”
However we have learned from our dust devil experience.
Here is the layout of the new camp:

LCC now using Rauls windproof tent and more cars as windbreaks is ready for the strong winds.

LCC now using Rauls windproof tent and more cars as windbreaks is ready for the strong winds.

The new LCC layout uses more cars for wind protection, Rauls wind resistant tent and more ropes. We have also moved the wireless antenna to a high beam on a truck to keep it in good visibility of the rover. The trusty generator is doing its work and with the long range wireless we got 2 Mbps down and 3 Mbps uplink to the UK today!

Bridget on Mars

Bridget on Mars

From the beginning it was clear that the Atacama is very similar to Mars visually, but not until you remove the blue of the atmosphere from the photos you realise just how true it is. The following slightly modified images were made by Elie showing of Bridget on this Martian terrain.

Removing the blue colour of the atmosphere gives very much Mars like appearance to images credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

Removing the blue colour of the atmosphere gives very much Mars like appearance to images
credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

Could have been pictured on Mars, the Atacama shows off the similar visual appearance to Mars credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

Could have been pictured on Mars, the Atacama shows off the similar visual appearance to Mars
credit: Elie Allouis ‎(Astrium)

Sweeping the desert

Sweeping the desert

Michel and Andy sweeping the desert. credit: Sev Gunes-Lasnet (RAL Space)

Michel and Andy sweeping the desert. credit: Sev Gunes-Lasnet (RAL Space)

Sweeping the dusty Atacama might seem like a futile effort but these sweepers are not removing dust, but removing tyre tracks and footprints, all to preserver the site and not to give out any clues to RCC by accident.

Bridget on the field

Bridget on the field

Bridget rover heading out to the starting point of the new day's trials credit: Sev Gunes-Lasnet (RAL Space)

Bridget rover heading out to the starting point of the new day’s trials
credit: Sev Gunes-Lasnet (RAL Space)

Every day Bridget needs to get down from the Beast and take a long traverse to the end of the previous day’s run which is the start of the day’s run. Equipped with all the instruments once again Bridget is heading out. Once in position she will receive the plan from RCC just like the download would happen to a Mars rover and start executing the tasks autonomously.