Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

Pictures of Team Mates

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Hawaii

I’ve taken far more pictures than I could ever post. And as you can probably tell, I’m more picture-oriented than word-oriented. So here comes a bunch…

First, the whole team (sans me) getting ready for group photo…
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Tom, Curtis and Kyle
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Tom A. and Greg
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Jackie and Katie prepping the test site.
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Tom, Tom, Janine and Jim
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In the control center.
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Lucas, Janine and me
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Very late, cold, windy and dusty night troubleshooting in the valley tent.
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Katie and Jennifer – late night in the control center
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Late Night Socializing and Team Building…
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Ronnie and Tom
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Rolando and Tom Preparing for Shipping
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Jim, Greg and Katie
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Joshua
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Favorite Picture

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Hawaii

Last couple of days have been a blur. Today we pack up and leave Mauna Kea. And I am going to try to post a few more things about my time on this mountain. Before coming here, I knew it last erupted about 4,500 years ago. But, I just read today that it is NOT dormant and could erupt anytime. Nice…

So here’s a great picture of the RESOLVE payload on the Artemis Jr rover in black & white.
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Mauna Kea

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Hawaii

So while shopping in a Hilo Walmart, I had a conversation with a cashier about our project. I told him we were staying on Mauna Kea and he said, “I’ve always wanted to go there”. Now understand that Mauna Kea is 30 minutes from Hilo…

Mauna Kea is a sacred mountain (volcano) in Hawaiian Culture. It is also one of the world’s tallest mountains with extremely dry air. It is naturally one of the most desirable places in the world to use a telescope. And does it have telescopes.

First, some pictures of the drive up to the peak…
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Ivan, Tom and Jimmy…
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Me…
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Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope … When we got to the top, there was a storm of fast moving cold clouds. It was hard to see anything. At 13,770 feet (4197 meters), The Gemini Telescope was my favorite. It has a twin in Chile – hence the name. The two telescopes working together can cover nearly all of the sky. Built and operated by an alliance between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia, they saw first light in 1999 (Mauna Kea) and 2000 (Chilean Andes).
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Our Valley Tents (aka The Sand Box)

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Hawaii

Our mission here on Mauna Kea is to prove that the RESOLVE concept/design of a lunar robotic mining mission will work. That’s why Mauna Kea was chosen as our test site. The geography here is so unusual. It’s all about lava and lava dust; materials that create an environement that resembles the moon.

In the valley, we have some tents set up where the rover spends her nights. We happen to spend a lot of time in the tents. It’s loud because of the generators. It’s incredibly sandy and dusty with lava dust. It is windy. And it is cold. I worked 16 hours today and I am tired. Here are some pictures of our valley tents.

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Can you see the lava dust on everything?
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Somehow, an Athletic Club (of Bilbao) scarf found its way into the tent. This was a gift from our exchange student Beatriz.20120715-230246.jpg

Resting and enjoying the view.
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Pitcher’s Mound

Posted: July 13, 2012 in Hawaii

So, between our dormitory and the valley is a large ridge. To the right of the ridge is the road in and to the left of it is the road out. We have strict rules which dictate the road into the valley and the road out of the valley. Why? Because these are the most treacherous roads I have ever been on and there is no way to make room to pass another vehicle. If two vehicles ever met head on, it would really, really suck. I mean suck bad… Did I mention this is THE definition of 4wd country?

So Wednesday, Lucas, Janine and I decided to hike into the valley in a direct path over this hill. It looks just like a pitcher’s mound. The color is perfect. The shape is right on. Then only tricky part is that the ridge is covered completely in lava debris. I mean this is exactly where all of your gas grill lava briquettes came from. Everything is loose. When you think you might have found a spot to rest, a lava debris landslide starts. And BTW… lava is sharp and jagged!

So here’s the pitcher’s mound…
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One of the interesting plants that somehow survives in this windy, cold and dry environment.
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Lucas and Janine hunting for nene birds…
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I was surprised how good it would feel reaching the peak. But it was pretty exciting. Maybe that’s because I thought I might die on the climb up.
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View of the valley base camp (tent city? The sand box?) coming off of the pitcher’s mound.
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