2016 GHOST Rover Tests: Day 1

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.


Morning briefing

Morning briefing


This year’s TIGER team (our team of geologists free to roam the site) consists of Becky Williams, Barbara Cohen, and Tom Chidsey. Aileen Yingst, Linda Kah, and Ruby Schaufler make up the linear traverse rover team, while Michelle Minitti, Geoff Gilleaudeau, and Becca Thomas are conducting the walkabout rover investigations. Site god, Brian Hynek, is overseeing rover operations and providing logistical support. Sarah Black is operating the rovers’ “ChemCam” (VNIR), and John Gemperline is operating the “CheMin” (XRD/APXS).


Both rovers and ChemCam (Becca Thomas, Ruby Schaufler, and Sarah Black) were deployed into the field – given specific locations to stop at, and instructions for sampling/imaging. As the day progressed, samples were taken to analyze with XRD/APXS (John Gemperline), and the rovers and ChemCam continued along their traverses – making it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way around the loop the team roughly sketched out – using remotely sensed data – before arriving at the site.


A linear traverse team meeting, and "Ruby Rover" surveying the site

A linear traverse team meeting at base camp (from left: Linda Kah, Aileen Yingst, and Ruby Schaufler), and “Ruby Rover” surveying the site

A walkabout team meeting, and "Becca Rover" surveying the site

A walkabout team meeting at base camp (from left: Becca Thomas, Geoff Gilleaudeau, and Michelle Minitti), and “Becca Rover” surveying the site


Day 1 operations spanned several Martian sols (days), and the rover teams began to characterize the lower half of the stratigraphy. Both teams kept the rovers and “ChemCam” extremely busy running back and forth between the field site and base camp, and the linear traverse team also ran several samples on the XRD/AXPS. Science team members fluctuated between happy, frustrated, excited, and confused throughout the day as their rover teams returned more data – often contradicting their expectations. Operations wound down as dinnertime approached, and the GHOST team pondered the next day’s moves to the sound of gale force winds howling outside their tents.


Other 2016 GHOST rover posts:

2016 Utah “Rover” Tests: Our Mission

2016 GHOST Rover Tests: Our Tools

2016 GHOST Rover Tests: Our Team

2016 GHOST Rover Tests: Day 2

2016 GHOST Rover Tests: Day 3