|Posted on Sep 03, 2010 10:34:21 AM | NASA Testing for Human Space Exploration | 0 Comments ||
By Dr. Jim Rice
Dr. Jim Rice is an Astrogeologist working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the geology crew member on rover A during week 1 of Desert RATS.
Wednesday, September 01
Today was another fantastic day onboard Rover Alpha! We conducted two really exciting Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) where we observed, documented and sampled a new type of lava flow, different from the ones we saw on day one. On our second EVA, we sampled yet another type of lava flow, which also appeared to be the youngest lava flow seen thus far. The highlight was climbing a small volcano called a scoria cone -- we were able to look down into the vent. We collected samples from the volcano's rim. The view was spectacular and we were able to survey the surrounding landscape, a very beautiful and serene locale. All our samples and observations will allow us to piece together the geologic history of this region much like we will do when we explore future destinations, be it the moon, Mars or asteroids.
Looking down on the rover and chase teams from atop the small volcano.
If I had to describe our daily life in Rover Alpha, I would say it's very much like camping out, although there are some big differences. We have power, computers, both a hot and cold water dispenser, air conditioning, exercise equipment and an indoor bathroom.
We spend all our time in the rover, except when we do EVAs -- the rover is a very comfortable home on 12 wheels. Being part of this field test is a very distinct honor for me! It is pretty awesome to be part of the team testing this prototype rover. I am loving every second and am very proud to be part of this hardworking and talented team. This is a remarkable experience that I will never forget. I certainly hope to see this marvelous and capable rover exploring some extraterrestrial real estate in the not too distant future.
Tags : Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS), General, field testing