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FIDO Uses RAT for First Time This Field Test

View a larger image (80 kB) or learn about other sol 25 images.

On this sol, the science team commanded FIDO to use its Rock Abrasion Tool, or RAT, on a dark flat rock named "black lab".

The FIDO rover does not actually have the RAT instrument on its arm, but the Mars Exploration Rovers will, so scientists need to practice using it. To accomplish this, engineers determine placement of the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) on the target surface as they would if a RAT did exist on the arm.

Once it is determined that the instrument is in the correct position, scientists in the field manually drill the surface of the specified target with instruments that simulate the action of the Rock Abrasion Tool. For this test, geologist Bob Anderson performed the role of the human RAT.

Engineers used software tools to confirm that the Instrument Deployment Device would not collide with anything while attempting to reach desired targets on the rock and surrounding soil. Once they determined that there were reachable points on the rock, they commanded FIDO to begin the rock abrasion.

Everyone is anxiously awaiting the result of this first RAT attempt.

Eddie Tunstel

Mark Powell

Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu

Eric Baumgartner


Jeff Norris


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Last Updated: 18 August 2002

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