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Athena Rover Team: 'We're Cookin!'
Athena Rover Team: 'We're Cookin!'
20 Sep 2002
(Source: Cornell University)

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Week Ending September 14, 2002


One of the things about our mission is that we're "hardware rich"; we have a lot of stuff going to Mars. It's a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

This week, we mounted our first two completed Pancams to the camera bar that goes at the top of the rover's mast. These are two out of the total of four Pancams that we have built, and out of the eighteen cameras in all that will go on both rovers. That's a lot of cameras.

We spent about eight hours getting these suckers properly mounted, precisely aligned, and ready to go. Took a good look at our handiwork, congratulated ourselves on a job well done... and then noticed we had 'em reversed: right camera on the left, and left camera on the right. Ouch.

The Pancams look almost identical from the outside, but they're not. Each has a wheel containing eight color filters, and the filter sets are very different in the two cameras.

So why not just leave them where they were? Well, for one thing, we've got an awful lot of software already written that expects one set of filters to be on the left and the other to be on the right. And it would have taken a lot more time to rewrite and re-test all that software than whatever it was going to take to switch the cameras. So off they came. We've got it right now, and you can bet we're going to get it right the first time when we do the next camera bar!

-- S. Squyres

Week Ending September 7, 2002

This has been another one of those weeks where there's so much happening that it's hard to decide what to write about. It's likely to be like that from here to the launch pads.

We officially finished our first Microscopic Imager this week. It's built, tested, and delivered. Only five more science cameras to go!

This newly-delivered Microscopic Imager now joins our two Moessbauer Spectrometers, our two APX Spectrometers, our two Mini-TESes, and the first of our two Rock Abrasion Tools as pieces of hardware that are ready to go to Mars. The second RAT should be ready to go in another week or two, and the other five cameras aren't far behind.

It won't be long before some of the instruments are in place, either. The first of our two instrument arms has now completed its testing and is ready to take on some instruments. Within another week or so, we may have a whole bunch of them mounted onto an arm for the first time.

And there's so much more going on, too. The first Mini-TES is mounted to its rover deck. The first Pancam Mast Assembly (the big mast that supports both Mini-TES and Pancam is done and is about to be mounted to the same deck. And the first assembled rover has been mounted to its lander and is ready for testing. We're cookin'!

-- S. Squyres

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Last Updated: 20 Sep 2002