It's been a busy day at the army base, with ceremonies and receptions (not all for us, the infantry is celebrating a birthday), and many visiting reporters. Nomad made the front page of the national newspaper El Mercurio today, featuring our own Mark Sibenac, and it seems the other newspapers and TV stations wanted to follow up. We were visited twice by TV crews, and since team member and native Spanish speaker Alex wasn't there, it fell on Mark Maimone to be interviewed (one of these was entirely in broken Spanish). We were also visited by lots of folks wanting the see Nomad, and some wanting to take their picture with it; it was suggested we could raise enough money to pay for the whole thing if we charged for each photo.

Friday was also the birthday of the Chilean Infantry, and there was a public ceremony at noon with marching band, cannon firing, and lots of marching and singing. Afterwards everyone was invited to a formal reception in the Officer's club on the beachfront. Made for a nice change of pace.

Today we powered up Nomad's generator for the first time in Chile. Although rovers on the Moon will probably use solar power, fuel cells or another technology, for this summer a gas-powered generator does the job. There was some concern that the high-altitude modifications made to it last week would make it harder to operate at sea level, but we managed. We will also be testing several power-conditioning configurations in preparation for the variety of terrain we encounter in the desert.

We have also gone through all of our boxes to make sure everything is here; components for the Hilltop Relay Station, tools, calibration equipment, manuals and such. Everything is being repacked for its trip to the desert.

We plan to transport all of our things in stages to the desert. Our sleeping containers will arrive Saturday morning, so team member Alex has flown northeast to Calama to receive delivery. On Saturday morning Michael will drive the first load to the encampment to be followed by everyone else (and Nomad!) either Saturday night or Sunday. The final shipment will be placed in our Command Truck, when it arrives.

Saturday will be a day of packing, moving, and testing electrical systems.

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Last Modified on: Wed Jun 25, 1997