All in a day’s work

Dec 12

We had a very interesting day today. We ran a successful profiling mission. However, about halfway through the mission, Bart realized that the fiber-optic cable was not moving as smoothly as it should. It slowly became clear that the cable was stuck somewhere because even when the robot was driving towards the melthole, we had to spool out the cable instead of bringing it in. This was a serious issue because the snag could cause the cable to be pulled out of the robot causing loss of communications. We have recovery procedures built-in, but we prefer to have communications with the robot because this is an unexplored lake and we like to be able to control the robot at all times. The robot finally came back to the melthole, but the cable was looped around something. After long discussions, we disconnected the cable from the robot and pulled it in.  We were concerned about doing this because we did not want to end up in situation where the end of the cable woul get stuck somewhere and we would not be able to pull it in without breaking the end. We still do not what it was snagged on, but we know the direction and distance from the melthole, so we will mark an elliptical keep-out zone in our maps for future missions. It could have been an ablation stake left back from some previous scientific experiment or something natural.

The mission started off smoothly. Chris having lunch while the robot drives to a grid-point.

The mission started off smoothly. Chris having lunch while the robot drives to a grid-point.

Peter tending the fiber cable.

Peter tending the fiber cable.

Bart ealizes that the fiber cable is snagged somehwere.

Bart realizes that the fiber cable is snagged somewhere.

Mission control - watching the data on the screens.

Mission control - watching the data on the screens.

The fiber seen in the melthole after the robot has come back. It is obviously snagged around something.

The fiber seen in the melthole after the robot has come back. It is obviously snagged around something.

Separating the incoming and outgoing sides of  the cable so that they are not twisted together when we pull the cable in.

Separating the incoming and outgoing sides of the cable so that they are not twisted together when we pull the cable in.

Pulling in the fiber cable. Vickie and Bill.

Pulling in the fiber cable. Vickie, Bill, Bart.

Success! Vickie and Bill.

Success! Vickie and Bill.

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3 Responses to All in a day’s work

  1. Rachel says:

    HA! I’m glad you got the cable reeled back in, and those photos are way more candid and funny than the stuff Vickie is sending me for the official SAS blog… 😛 BUT, if any of you dear readers would like to see the new blog, you can see it on the Stone Aerospace website (www.stoneaerospace.com). There’s a link on the main page if you scroll down.

    Glad you guys had some time to relax (and “shower”)!

    • sgulati says:

      Yes, we were quite stressed out for a while, but luckily things worked out. Shower was interesting, but we did feel clean after that.

  2. […] position). We also saw some obstacles in the limno-hut region where the fiber had gotten snagged  last year in our new visualizer. A dead penguin (between the two rocks). Emma had seen it some time back and […]

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