We got a good amount of driving in today. In addition to the standard daytime remote operation, we also ran in the patterned search driving mode at night after a healthy dinner break. We did not come close to our maximum daily mileage, but still managed to get over 13 kilometers yesterday. The patterned search code actually continued until 0920 the next morning when the Carnegie Science Center drivers took over.
Ah, those Carnegie Science Center drivers. They seem to love chasing down the field team, following truck tracks toward the base camp, and in general trying their best to annoy the field team. Today they kept driving Nomad closer and closer to what they described as some really beautiful terrain. Unfortunately, the terrain was so interesting because it was a canyon with a more than 20 foot dropoff. While I'm sure the imagery looks incredible in the panospheric camera, it tends to make those of us here in the field a bit nervous.
The stream of visitors in the desert continues. Today some friends of team member Alex dropped by just as we were on our way out to dinner. This would normally have been fine, except that Alex had left the desert the day before for business in the big city. But we could not disappoint seven people who had come all this way in a pickup truck to see the robot. So we took them to see Nomad, drove it around a bit, took some pictures, and then headed out together to the main road. Unfortunately, their pickup did not have four wheel drive. Even more unfortunately, our driver that evening seemed to lose his sense of direction several times. While that is fine for the four-wheel drive trucks we have, it was not so good for the others; each time we changed direction abruptly, the truck with seven people got stuck. So we spent about an hour getting them unstuck, stuck, unstuck... until we made it out to the main road. I'm sure it only enhanced their memories of the trip though.
Finally, of the distance covered today by Nomad, 1038 meters were driven autonomously.
Total distance today: 8.305 kilometers