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The science experiments are some of the most important tasks of the Rio Tinto Mission 2011, which were controlled by the Science Operation Team (SciOps) at Mission Control Center in Innsbruck, Austria. The author (Csilla Orgel) was one of the principal investigators of the „Scaled Observations” experiment and the planner of EVA tracks.
Preceding analysis (images, topography, geological setting) of the Rio Tinto region is the first step of all experiments in the Mars simulation project.
EVA tracks guide the suit-tester to find the most optimal roads using remote science data (aerial and satellite images) to implement the experiments (Fig.1.). During the mission the SciOps had to replan the EVA tracks, because the weather changed every 10 minutes from sunny to heavy rain and back. Also results from previous EVAs sometimes suggested a revision of EVA planning.
The aim of the “Scaled Observations” experiment is to compare the observational and background data of different spatial scales at different locations in the Rio Tinto region, and extrapolate to Martian conditions.
The “Scaled Observations” data acquired by remote observation (aerial and satellite images) of the terrain was compared with in-situ observations to determine what information is discernible from remote data and which feature types are only observable via in-situ work. During the mission the field crew acquired in-situ images at 3 distances from the same direction of each target:
1. First picture of the target was made from 10-25 m distance,
2. the second picture of the target was taken from 1-4 m distance and
3. the third picture of the target was shot from 5-20 cm distance
Our experience with the experiments will help the next Mars simulation projects on Earth. Field trips are very useful to understand the development of the examined areas. The remote sensing data are also useful, but without field results the final conclusion is not complete.
- ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) in Rio Tinto and the role of the Science Operation Team
- Rio Tinto from the point of view of the SciOps team!
- A first review of the Rio Tinto 2011 Mars Simulation (+ mission report)
- Announcement of Opportunity for Rio Tinto Field Test 2011
- Rio Tinto Mars Expedition 2011: Picture of the Day
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