Saturday, May 10, 2008


The last couple days have been some of the most frustrating but productive that we've ever experienced. Kevin and I just finished a 23 hour day, and have gone almost completely asynchronous from a normal schedule, and we've shifted to working from 11 am to 3 am. The beauty of doing this here is that we never have to experience the sinking feeling of working through a sunrise. Since most of our meals here are entirely identical, we have almost no reference for what the current time would ordinarily imply.

We've been furiously working to bring telemetry on line for our next test and have finally succeeded in getting the radio to talk to our computer. Yeti now sends back it's coordinates, time, GPS quality data, and it's next waypoint. What made this so frustrating was that when we added telemetry functionality to our working controller, the robot would wander in loopy circles and not seem to care about its next waypoint. This stopped being funny after hours of diagnosis revealed no major clues as to its cause, and we were only able to get it working properly by reducing the amount of data we sent. The system performs very well now, but without much of the code we've written.

We've also hammered out our last issues with our ground-penetrating radar, and have gotten that working perfectly. We expect that our next run will yield high-quality GPS-tagged radar data. Thanks again to GSSI for letting us use one of their radar units. Without that we'd never be here in the first place.

Today, we're preparing to run Yeti tomorrow on it's last major run, further out on the ice sheet. This will be a more complicated course over sustained and gnarly sastrugi, and we plan to be entirely hands off from start to finish. Yeti's batteries are our biggest concern now, as several of them have broken on us and only 5 1/2 out of the original 9 are working. Yeti should be able to finish the several mile course, but it'll be close.

We heard yesterday that we would have to leave three days earlier that expected, though we'll be getting back two days later! The only way to get home is by flying to the Greenland summit station and spending two days there, then flying back through Kanger which requires a two-day layover as well. We won't have access to Yeti so it'll be a mandatory rest that Kevin and I could probably use, though we'll miss GreenKey weekend at Dartmouth by a day.

More pictures on the way, stay tuned for tomorrow's results.


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