FIDO crosses the finish line!
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The FIDO team achieved the last of its mission success criteria when
the rover completed a short drive that pushed the total traverse distance
to 201.8 meters (662 feet). The picture above was taken by FIDO's
rear-looking hazcam just after the rover passed the 200-meter (656 feet)
mark for cumulative traverse distance required to meet mission success.
(We added the finish line and checkered flag as if we were looking backwards!)
Nine mission success criteria were defined before the test started.
Mission success criteria define when the test (or mission) is considered
to be fully successful. The FIDO criteria were drawn from the Mars
Exploration Rover mission success criteria, but scaled down since the
FIDO test is only 20 sols long, while the Mars Exploration Rover mission
is 90 sols long. The success criteria and the science objectives are very
important because they guide the strategy and daily operational
decisions of the team.
The first criterion required that rover acquire and downlink a
complete Pancam 360-degree panorama
of the landing site. FIDO
accomplished this during the first six simulated sols and the panorama
was ready for the science team when they started on sol 7. Mission
success also stated that FIDO needed to visit at least two different
geologic sites in the area. The team far surpassed this goal when,
on sol 24, they were already on the fourth! These geologic sites
included the Kaibab outcrop,
then the trench area,
and finally the Black Lab rock near the
Camelback outcrop. The team
commanded FIDO to dig two trenches, even though the requirement was
only one. The reason? They were very different and exciting surfaces -
one was potentially an area of mud cracks and the other was buried rock.
The final mission success criterion called for a total cumulative traverse
distance of 200 meters (656 feet). "This was by far the toughest of
all the mission success criteria, and we made it with three sols to
spare!" said Dr. Curt Niebur, a scientist at Raytheon in
Washington, D.C. Although FIDO is capable of long traverses, hazardous
terrain can greatly slow or stop the rover, resulting in less time to do
science. "In this test, however," remarked Curt, "we
used our traverse capability as a science tool to drive us to different and
interesting sites like Camelback and the trench area. Just like we plan
to do on Mars, we used the rover's mobility to take us to new locations
and enable better science."