(Pampa Elvira Region)

This day after our public debut found us in some interesting terrain. Nomad crossed by many short cliffs and through streambeds, which made it difficult for the remote drivers to accumulate much distance; they were trying to get used to the rugged terrain. Here in the field we noticed that the robot was being controlled in a halting manner; folks would drive it a few meters, stop, and look around for a couple minutes.

Today was also our first day of operations in our new command truck. It's quite the novelty to be able to stand up and move around inside our control center. So now we have a unit that can be enclosed against the wind, has built-in cabinets and stowage space for satellite equipment, and having been plastered yesterday with logos of the various Chilean Friends of Nomad organizations, it makes a nice billboard too.

We seem to be (literally) wearing out our welcome at our current operations site. Our long flatbed (called a "camion" en Castellano) has gotten stuck a couple times in the area around the command truck, because the top layer of rocks and dirt has been tossed around by the many trucks that have passed through. The terrain around here looks very rocky, but underneath the small rocks (almost everywhere smaller than one foot, most of them just a few inches or less) is a layer of loose dirt that goes down at least a foot. That makes it easy to dig, easy for Nomad to drive, and easy for big trucks to get stuck.

Finally, this was the first time we left Nomad powered up all night. Even though we knew it had been refueled the night before, it was a nice surprise to head out and find it still running on generator power. When it's not driving through very rough terrain, Nomad can run for at least 10 hours before needing to be refueled.

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Last Modified on: Wed Jun 25, 1997