Rover Instrumentation 

The FIDO Rover:
Rovers are crucial to the successful exploration of Mars. Rovers provide the best mobility platforms for experiments involving remote sensing and in-situ measurements. FIDO is a prototype field test rover which provides a testbed for rover operations scenarios and instrumentation.

Finding either carbonate rocks or fossils on Mars will provide the evidence needed to prove that water and life once existed on the Red Planet. 

The rover is a much less efficient explorer than a human being. FIDO was designed to test how to best use rovers on Mars. Mars is a harsh environment, and tradeoffs need to be considered for a successful mission. Should the rover spend all of the time available in one area, examining it thoroughly, and neglect the other areas around the landing site? Or should the rover briefly explore as many of the areas as possible? How much time should be spent traversing from place to place versus obtaining samples? Should the rover take shortcuts through rough terrain, and risk getting flipped over or stuck, or should the rover take the longer, safer route? The strategy chosen should maximize the chances of accomplishing the mission goal of finding carbonates or fossils that will prove that water and life once existed on Mars. The instrumentation described below was chosen for its ability to optimize the exploration of the Martian surface.

The Arm:
The Raman Spectrometer is not currently integrated onto FIDO. Raman Spectrometers can be positioned to examine rock and soil samples. The spectrometer transmits a red light laser beam at the sample and receives returned light. Due to the Raman effect, a small (one part in a million) fraction of the light is shifted to longer wavelengths. A spectrometer records signal strength as a function of wavelength shift. The resulting spectrum is diagnostic of the mineralogy.

The Mössbauer Spectrometer will be used to detect the iron oxidation state and iron mineralogy for soils and rocks.

The Color Microscopic Imager, capable of producing extremely close and detailed pictures of rocks and soils, will aid scientists in the interpretation of the texture and mineralogy of the samples by providing visual context. A brush will also be included on the arm to clean surfaces before imaging and spectroscopic observations.

The Mast:

FIDO features a stowable mast that reaches 1.94 meters above the ground when unfolded.

The Pancam is a panoramic imaging system that provides views in stereo and false color infrared wavelengths (green, red, infrared) of the surface around the rover. 

The Navcam is used to navigate the rover. It has better precision because of a wider field of view, allowing it to image more in a single frame. Unlike the Pancam, it does not image in color. 

 The Infrared Point Spectrometer(IPS) is a sensor aligned with the Navcam to measure the intensity of radiation from wavelengths of 1.3 through 2.5 micrometers, in the infrared range of the spectrum, at a single point. The IPS also can be commanded to acquire data in a raster mode, thereby producing image cubes (two spatial dimensions and a spectral dimension). 

The Underside:

The prototype Mini-Corerfor FIDO is used to collect intact rock and soil samples that are 5 mm in diameter and 1.5 cm long by drilling into boulders and bedrock and depositing the samples in the Sample Container. The Mini-Corer is located on the rover and is independent of the arm. 

The Haz Cams are the cameras on the base of the rover used to navigate the rover around Mars.  Haz is short for Hazard.  The cameras observe any obstructions that might come in the rover's way. 

The Belly Cam is the camera used to record the process of the minicore.  The Belly Cam can see the minicore as it drills into a rock's surface. 


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