Due to the recent rains, the shipping delivery of the Zoe rover and LITA drill has been delayed until tomorrow. Today, the LITA team drove west towards the Andes to collect samples for the Signs of Life Detector (SOLID) instrument, a biosignature detector developed by the Centro de Astrobiologíca. Our first destination was a salt flat named Salar de Pajonales. Gypsum was plentiful in the area, and we collected rock and water samples for SOLID. Next, we continued toward another landmark, Laguna Azufrera at 4237 m elevation. Unfortunately, snow stopped us 5 km short of our destination. We were able to see wildlife and vegetation along the way. We saw numerous vicuñas closer to the Andes and flamingos enjoying some hot springs. Near Laguna Azufrera, fumaroles were visible at Volcán del Azufre. Over the course of the day, we traveled greater than 600 km and nearly 400 km off-road for a 15 hour day.
About the Exploration Technology GroupHoneybee Robotics Exploration Technology Group engineers and builds terrestrial and extraterrestrial drilling, excavation, and geotechnical systems, as well as sample acquisition, transfer and processing technologies. Because these systems are autonomous, smart, low power, light-weight, and low-mass, they have application not only in space, but here on earth in mining and petroleum applications.