Today we worked in preparation for the trip to the desert. We spent the first half of this week in Antofagasta, a city of a quarter million people on the coast of Northern Chile with a city center that is active more than 14 hours a day. But this weekend we will move to the camp near Nomad's route.

We spent the morning shopping for extra supplies, and the afternoon and evening working on Nomad at the army base. We were greeted there by Guillermo Chong, a geologist at the Universidad Catolica del Norte. Prof. Chong will be helping us with our experiments this summer, especially during the week of remote science experiments that will be run from the NASA Ames Research Center in northern California during the last full week of June. He told us the reason we've had difficulty reaching him by phone: his university has been overtaken by its students for the past three and a half weeks, and they still occupy the buildings and have cut the phone lines.

We also welcomed the seventh member of our team, Hans Thomas from NASA Ames. Hans will be with us throughout the month of June. He'd like to stay longer, but he'll be getting married 6 August and needs some time to prepare for his next trek.

During the day we tested some of our electrical systems; gasoline generators and uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs). We also completed mechanical assembly of several sensors; all but two of the twelve cameras, gyrocompass, inertial measurement unit, GPS receiver, weather station and antenna pointing system. And Nomad's new outer shell now has external handles that will allow one person to take it on and off, and new mounts for the cooling system.

We also learned that our operations station, which was to have been shipped by boat, is still in the port at Miami. We will probably have to fly it down, which may prove tricky; it's a 14'x8'x8' container.

Friday we look forward to bringing more systems online, and doing more complete electrical testing. We will also greet representatives from Entel Chile, a communications company that will be helping us out with satellite backup equipment and provide us with a satellite phone.

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Last Modified on: Wed Jun 25, 1997