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The science experiments are one of the most important tasks of Rio Tinto Mission, which are controlled by the Science Operation Team (SciOps). The SciOps includes the Remote Science Support Team (RSS) and the Personal Investigators (PI) and lots of other tasks. We are responsible for the „suit tester” performing the experiments correctly on the field, handling the data, analysing and interpreting them. Following these, we have to take the decision on what could be the next step.
We have planned the EVA tracks for during the simulation days, which guide the suit-tester to find the most optimal roads using remote science data to implement the experiments. Basic questions for EVA tracks plan could be: 1. Define the mission goals! 2. What are the criterias? 3. Which is the data needed for planning? 4. What are the important/usefull tools? More questions: 1. What is the maximum distance from the Habitable Zone (HAB)? Where do we want to build up our HAB anyway? 2. How much time can the „suit tester” spend outside of HAB? 3. What is the length of each experiment? What is the technical/science plan for the days?
In the Rio Tinto Mission the most important site selection criterion is safety and just after that is the selection of scientifically (geologically, biologically) interesting sites. The EVAs were planned using Google Earth and 0.5 meter/pixel resolution aerial images.
The EVA tracks plan was finished before the crew went away to „Mars”. The SciOps goal is to compare the „remote data” with the field data, which will be collected soon. This experiment will help us understand what we are watching from space, what we thinking about, and after if it is the same on the field or not.
During the first EVA the following science experiments will be taken: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) measurement, Raman spectroscopy, Microbial Assessment, Eurobot, and „Scaled Observations” experiment.
The GPR is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to imagine the subsurface. This nondestructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band of radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. In our case, we would like to know, where the boundaring layer is, what separates the soil from the bedrock. This information is very important in identifying the exact location to drill. (We would like to drill, so we have the need a minimum of 1-2 meters depth to reach the bedrock.)
The Raman spectroscopy is used to identify the minerals in some points in the field.
The „Scaled Observation” experiment focus on the comparison of data acquired during the mission at different spatial scales (e.g. 100m, 10m, and 1m from the visited site), and extrapolate the results to Martian conditions.
The Microbial assessment will consist in sampling the suit for bacteria in order to identify organisms that might be present there.
The Eurobot Ground Prototype; a mobile autonomous robotic system for planetary exploration, which is belongs to the European Space Agency.
The vehicle is designed to work both autonomously as well as in full cooperation with astronauts.
See below our Eva track maps for the first day!
Number of EVA: 1
Date: 18. Apr2011
Max. Distance from the Base Camp: 255 m
Max. Length: ~1000 m
Time Duration: 2 hours
10:00 – 11:00/Suit+GPR1
11:00 – 12:00/Suit+Raman
Number of EVA: 2
Date: 18. Apr2011
Max. Distance from the Base Camp: 350 m
Max. Length: ~1000 m
Time Duration: 3 hours
15:00 – 16:00/ Suit+Eurobot/ESA
16:00 – 17:00/ Suit+Raman2+IR
17:00 – 18:00/ Suit+Geophysics-Akos
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