The story continues
So the title is a bit deceiving. When I say the story continues the story continues for a couple of reasons the Mars rover, we are still troubleshooting and calibrating the wheels on the Rover. But the good thing is we are very close to finally getting it to drive.
Meanwhile, we finally had our Google Hangout with Michael Cox from JPL. It was a great talk, Mr. Cox first introduced us to all the missions going on at the center. I never realized how many missions they were or are involved with. But Mr. Cox pointed out that JPL does all Robotic and unmanned missions. I didn’t realize this. Some of the best missions have come from JPL. If you think about it Viking, Voyager 1 & 2, Mars Pathfinder, Cassini, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity are all the missions that have come from JPL. Amazing! His talk was great because it showed the students all that JPL had done and what it offered.
The final discussion was about the Rover, he met the team and discussed how the Rover came about. The Rover team showed him all that they had done and talked about some of the difficulties they faced. It turned out to be a great meeting. I did suggest to him that maybe we could get all the high schools building the Rover together on a skype. Then trade different ideas. He thought that was great and would look into it.
One thing I believe is happening, students are getting a bit frustrated because of the calibration section. They are trying to get the motors and encoders calibrated, their efforts sometimes cause other problems or they find other problems. It’s a frustrating part of the whole build but a great problem solving moment. Actually I even think a great learning moment for them, not everything can go right in real life and this is just a example. I know it is frustrating to them and can be discouraging, they want the Rover to drive! But it’s a learning process that continues with this project.