About FIDO

Rover Tests



Silver Lake Test Schedule

The FIDO tests occured during the last half of April 1999 and focused on the use of mast-mounted instruments including Pancam and Navcam imaging systems, and an Infrared Point Spectrometer bore-sighted with Navcam. An instrument arm with a Mössbauer Spectrometer and Color Microscopic Imager was used. A mini-corer was employed to obtain rock cores. Belly cameras were used to monitor the instrument arm and mini-corer deployments. These tools were used to traverse to sites, select targets, obtain and document samples, and deliver the samples back to the starting point.

The FIDO science server at Washington University posted experiment data records in near real time for the team's use. These included images from the Pancam, Navcam, Hazcams and Bellycams, data from the Infrared Point Spectrometer and the Color Microscopic Imager, and field notes of activities for each day.


The Core Operations Team (COT) mission control was located on-site at Silver Lake. It included Ray Arvidson or Steve Squyres as COT chief, planning engineers, a WITS expert, and a small group of science team members. The remainder of the science team participated using WITS and the internet through a satellite. Personnel in the field viewing the rover included a site geoscientist, engineers maintaining the rover and its instruments, and personnel doing total station measurements to document rover locations for comparison with locations obtained from rover telemetry.

Traverse planning activities utilized orbital and simulated descent images, and Pancam and Navcam images. Science targets were selected using Pancam and Infared Point Spectrometer data. The targets (primarily rocks) were examined with the microscopic imager and Mössbauer Spectrometer, and then drilled.


Groups of students from four high schools formed the L.A.P.I.S. Student Test Mission team (from Los Angeles, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Ithaca, NY, and St. Louis, MO) and planned the use of FIDO for two days via the internet. Each group was responsible for producing a different part of the integrated student mission, including creating a mission plan, developing education/outreach materials, participating in on-site field documentation, and posting logs and data on a student-run web site. The work of the LAPIS Student Test Mission will result in publication of a CD-ROM with their plans and the results from their activities.

This pilot educational program, designed to involve small groups of students actively in rover testing, allowed the students to gain experience with the science, engineering, and planning necessary to run a rover mission. They also learned new math and science concepts, interacted with rover scientists and engineers through teleconferences and email, and became more interested in careers in science and engineering.

  • Mission report with activities accomplished and lesssons learned.
  • Planetary Data System (PDS) archive of data and documentation, on-line and as a DVD.
  • CD-ROM containing plans, operations summary and data produced by the LAPIS Student Mission team
  • Publication of pattern recognition and rover localization analyses.
  • Publication of operations and science results using the rover.
  • List of FIDO modifications for future testing.