WEDNESDAY, 16 JULY 1997, THE Atacama Desert
(Llano de la Paciencia)

Nomad is back in action! The broken bearing has been replaced, and Nomad was driven almost 5 kilometers today. Our mechanical team had decided to wait until first light (and first lack of wind) before replacing the bearing, and still was able to complete the work in time for Nomad to drive its RDK (recommended daily kilometers).

The software team took advantage of the time to implement some new features. Nomad's precision-pointed antenna currently needs to be manually reset, or told where the hilltop relay station is located. We started work on some code that will allow it to align to the hilltop automatically. The navigation system was also extended to have a better model of Nomad's steering capabilities; such changes are made incrementally, to keep improving Nomad's behavior around obstacles.

Part of today's driving included 498 meters of autonomy late in the day. The run was stopped short as the Sun began to set, because the navigation cameras get confused when the Sun appears directly in their lenses. Normally that merely slows it down, though it can still make some progress. But today we decided to avoid stressing the wheels with quick starts and stops.

Last Modified on: Tue Jul 15, 1997