Thursday was our last day in the field, and our science teams had only a few morning hours to wrap up their investigations. Becca, Ruby, Sarah, and John were sent out to gather the last bits of data and cached samples for each team. By mid-morning, the science teams had most of the data they wanted to collect, and were spending the bulk of their time drawing strat columns and refining their interpretations. Meanwhile, the rovers and instruments “recharged their solar cells” after several days of hard work.
The team awoke fresh faced and ready to get back into their traverses on day 2. After a chat around breakfast, coffee, and stick throwing for our resident Martian dogs, Ruby, Becca, Sarah, and John prepared themselves to head back out and do their science teams’ bidding, and the TIGER team headed out to finish their in-situ investigations of the field site.
The GHOST team arrived onsite Monday evening, and began our rover investigations early Tuesday morning. The day began with a coordination of teams, and laying out an initial work plan, by the team’s PI, Aileen Yingst.
We have an excellent team working on the GHOST project this year! Check out their bios below:
While we are out in the field pretending to be Mars rovers, we need to be able to gather the same kind of data that we acquire on Mars. There are many impressive instruments on both Spirit and Opportunity – the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) – as well as Curiosity – the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). For this week, we are limited to those instruments which we are capable of taking out into the field, and many of the MER and MSL instruments do not have field-portable analog instruments here on Earth.
Fortunately, we have two field-portable instruments that are excellent analogs for those on board the current Mars rovers:
On April 18th, a group of us will descend on a mystery location in Utah where will will spend five days roaming around the desert pretending to be Mars rovers for the GeoHueristic Operational Strategies Testing (GHOST) program. These rover tests have no actual rovers, as those are extremely expensive and logistically difficult to get out in the field. Rather, we have people pretending to be the rovers, and others (myself included) acting as the instruments onboard those rovers.
This year’s objective is to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of utilizing a walkabout approach to investigate the field site, instead of the commonly-used linear traverse.
I am currently a third year Ph.D. student in geology. Lately, I’ve found myself talking with a lot of prospective grad students and friends interested in going back to school. By now, I’ve managed to sort through my thoughts and experiences from the past few years, and have found some things I really wish I had known or thought to do back when I started. So in an effort to reach as many prospective grads as possible, I thought I would take some time to put together something that I hope people find useful. Some of these things may be geology-specific, but I’ve tried to keep it applicable to the sciences in general.
So you’re thinking about grad school?