LITA Field Testing 2015, Day 15 (April 11)

Over the last few days, Zoe has made an ambitious push to visit all of its remaining objective locations. Zoe has driven to nearly every location despite our field testing being delayed.

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We are also getting our fill of manual labor in the Atacama. The field team has dug 80 cm holes at each of Zoe’s locations along with a few others to collect additional terrain samples for the science team. We made sure to document our efforts.

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Yesterday, we had the opportunity to tour the telescopes at the top of Cerro Paranal. Cerro Paranal is one of the most advanced observatories in the world. We witnessed one of the Very Large Telescope’s 8.2 meter diameter mirrors move into position to prepare for nighttime astronomical viewing. Several astronomers were even kind enough to show and explain their work as we toured through their offices. For more information about the telescopes at Paranal Observaroty, see this link: Very Large Telescope.

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Today marks the end of the LITA 2015 Field Campaign. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the LITA project, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone on the field team.

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Judging the 2015 NASA Robotic Mining Competition

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The Sixth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition was recently held at Kennedy Space Center. This year, 47 university-level student teams competed to design and build a mining robot that can traverse simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin within 10 minutes. Some teams were even able to accomplish these tasks autonomously, which I had the pleasure to judge this year. This marks the sixth year that Honeybee has sponsored the competition, and each year the designs get better and better.

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Visiting the LCC (Launch Control Center) and siting in the Launch Director’s chair in Firing Room 1.

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The Visitor’s Center at Kennedy Space Center showcases a beautiful Rocket Garden and Space Shuttle Atlantis.

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Winners will be publicly announced in a couple weeks — stay tuned and congrats to all the teams for their impressive problem-solving during the competition!

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