Daily Archives: October 26, 2008

Day 5 – Bad news…

Unfortunately our trip to hunt for replacement motors was unsuccessful. ¬†As such our current motors are in too poor a state to continue as a participant on the LRC, and we have had to retire from the challenge ūüė¶

The damage to our bearings prooved too great for repairs and the available torque in our motors is not great enough to compensate.  Thanks to everyone for their offers of help and condolences!

Our earlier attempt at salvaging the track design

Our earlier attempt at salvaging the track design

We have stayed, however, to observe how the remaining teams get on in the live challenge events this evening and Saturday evening.

Michel venting his anger on Selene!

Michel venting his anger on Selene!

The teams selected for Friday night were ourselves, Oulu, Jacobs and Madrid.

Oulu had a great start, and quickly made it into the crater, however after searching the crater floor for a short while they had a fatal failure, which later turned out to be a blown fuse, which ended their run in the LRC.

 

Oulu setting off!

Oulu setting off!

Jacobs were up next, and after some interesting communication issues at the start (both their rovers performing the same movements in an odd little dance!), and several resets managed to make it into the crater floor using their flippers for additional support.  They were successful in finding and approaching the sample however due to its location and sprocket issues they were unable to complete the mission as well.

 

Jacobs setting off!

Jacobs setting off!

Madrid were the last competitors of the night and had a great run into the crater floor, however camera and motor issues also ended their run prematurely.

 

Madrid preparing Moonhound

Madrid preparing Moonhound

Overall it was a very long, and very cold night, with the terrain and mission challenges proving to be far more taxing for all the teams than expected! ¬†We’ll have videos up next week, in the mean time here are a selection of photos!

 

Dr Lappas and Sam, wrapped up warm against the bitter wind and cold conditions

Dr Lappas and Sam, wrapped up warm against the bitter wind and cold conditions

Beatrice and Chris (me!) wrapped up against the elements

Beatrice and Chris (me!) wrapped up against the elements

 

Michel in a cheesy self shot!

Michel in a cheesy self shot!

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Day 4 – Problematic

Today we started late to allow for night trials.  After stuggling to get our flippers working correctly we decided to get the rover drive system online and on the ground.  Unfortunately luck was not on our side.

Selene on her only trip outside

Selene on her only trip outside

Soon after getting Selene out and onto the ground we quickly had issues with the drive system, our power was misbalanced between the left and right tracks and the rover was suffering from constant stalls.  Once back in the workshop van we quickly found out that the bearings on our motor drive shafts had spectacularly failed, littering the gear boxes with tiny ball bearings and completely shattering the metal collar holding them in place.  The implication of this was to leave the drive shaft unlubricated and unbalanced.

Our only hope was to try and find replacement motors in the morning, our drill has a 20Nm motor, we hoped to find similar replacements in Santa Cruz!

In the mean time Sam and Michel continued to work on improving and tweaking our software.  Sam managed to incorporate the majority of our system controls into a single application, while Michel tried an alternative method of receiving our video stream.

Michel slacking off again

Michel slacking off again

We also got at better idea of how the site would be at night.  Here is the test area in the day time:

Lunar testing site by day

Lunar testing site by day

And the challenge crater at night!

Challenge crater at night

Challenge crater at night

We also got a look at the sample sand we would have to collect once in the crater.

Red gravel!

Red gravel!

We could only hope for better luck in the morning and try to replace our motors.

Here’s a video log from earlier in the day (it is actually from day 4, even though I say day 3!)