By Chris Looper
Chris Looper is the Chief Engineer of the EVA Branch of the Astronaut Office, and is splitting time as a test subject and Traverse Director of 2010 Desert RATS .
Today we had a practice day, referred to as a dry-run, where we were able to operate the rovers and perform a practice spacewalk. It was a very hectic day but a very good, full day of learning new things about how to make the rover work and practicing the geology sampling procedure we are to employ.
As is typical for the first day with all the various systems working together, communications through the radio network was challenging. Everything should smooth out within the next few days as all the system experts have sufficient opportunities to understand what it will take to get things working together. I gained a better appreciation today for the responsibilities of a test subject in this environment. In addition to understanding and trying to follow the plan, I will have to make a concentrated effort to ensure we (the rover A test subjects) also provide all the subjective data expected. There is a lot of it, throughout the day, before and after all the events.
Tomorrow we begin our seven-day mission portion of the overall 14 day mission. I learned some points today which should help me to take care of rover A so that it will be in good shape for days 8-14. I know most of the people participating in the test, since I have worked Desert RATS for the last few years. It makes it a comfortable environment knowing they are good people who take pride in what they do. I am also looking forward to working with Jim Rice in rover A for the next week. I have got to visit with Jim a few times over the last few years but never for any length of time. Three video links touring base camp are below. High definition video is very jiggly when you’re walking (sorry).