(Llano de la Paciencia)

Nomad found its way to some very interesting terrain today. It wandered over lots of rolling hills, leaving very nice sets of tracks, viewing the mountains and canyons in the distance. Things went better than yesterday, when we had a bit of an exciting moment when a novice driver almost sent it off a cliff. Today's small hills were no problem for it. At least, not until the lunch break when it ran out of gas, and we were unable to restart it. Specifically, the joystick that we use to perform the antenna and steering calibrations would no longer work, and our experts in those systems were still away at the volcano. So work in the afternoon continued on nav debugging and remote viewing, but without additional driving.

Also unfortunately, by the time of our lunch break no food had arrived from camp. So we subsisted on olives, pickles, candy bars, and eventually some Dum Alu with rice (more good Indian food). The olives were also quite good, by the way. We learned later that the folks bringing lunch had been unable to start their truck, so they did not arrive until nearly 1700 hours, having found a ride with someone else.

We had more visitors today as well; a geologist with his wife and daughter, the owner of a nearby gold mine, and seven surveyors from Antofagasta. Very hardy souls, who come all way out here to see Nomad and speak with non-Spanish-speaking folks. It's always a challenge to get their trucks out to a location from which they can see Nomad, since their trucks are typically not built for this type of terrain. Most of the time it works out fine, they just travel a little more slowly. But unfortunately, last night one of the two trucks from Antofagasta experienced a major electrical failure, and they were unable to get it going again. We anticipate the arrival of a mechanic sometime tomorrow to help them out. In the meantime, all seven people packed into the remaining truck for the trip home.

In all, Nomad drove 3.3 kilometers today, of which 492 meters were driven autonomously.

Last Modified on: Sat Jul 19, 1997