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Complex Rock Face Means Complex Arm Maneuver


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Today, the rover established a position at Kaibab, and attempted to initiate the uplinked rover command sequence to place the arm-mounted Microscopic Imager and the spectrometers onto selected targets. The rock face that was targeted exhibited extremely complex geometry and engineers knew that they were attempting a very difficult arm maneuver.

In designing the difficult sequence, rover engineers worked diligently to ensure that the Microscopic Imager instrument would delicately touch the desired target. "This is the fanciest arm sequence design I have ever seen attempted," explained PI Steve Squyres. There was risk in the complex environment that another part of the arm could unintentionally connect with the rock. "The success of the maneuver's design depends, among other things, on the quality of Hazcam-imaged range data at the location," explained MER Flight System Engineer Eddie Tunstel. Hazcam range data tells the rover exactly what distance everything in the rover's local environment is. Less than a centimeter of variance in this system could result in a target miss.

Engineers wait for results. . .

Eddie Tunstel

Mark Powell

Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu

Eric Baumgartner

 

Jeff Norris

 

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