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Stardate 2011.07.15 (Friday) - Building the Lunar Landscape

posted Aug 17, 2011, 6:11 PM by Anant Narayanan

Today, the instructions were at hand.  Before Rohit left for his music camp in the morning, he started on the Lander Base and also built some Moon Rocks and Helium 3 models.  But when he came home in the afternoon (after his final music camp performance), Gabriel had built almost everything, including 43 ridge sections. 

We left some Water Ice and Helium 3 models for Minyoung to build, and we started to look at building the Peak of Eternal Light (POEL).  We noticed that even though we had the right number of pieces according to the Parts List, there were not enough pieces to build everything.   Rohit was able to find some pieces from his personal LEGO CITY collection but there were still 20 or so pieces missing that we did not have (mainly large plates).  Mr. Narayanan offered to go to the LEGO store and get some.

After Minyoung came, Ms. Jarratt and Colin were able to join us for a little bit and we tested some rover designs to see if they would work.  First we tested out the tractor base we normally use in our MRI robotics classes.  It worked pretty well until we tried to send it over the ridge, when it just clicked away on the incline.  Clearly it needed to be longer.

The other design we tried was the one suggested by Minyoung, a tractor base with a trailing wheel (the Tribot design).   It took some time before Minyoung was convinced that the design would not work.  Rohit remembered the trouble we had last year with getting a Tribot to back up consistently.  It would not go at the right angle when it reversed because of the trailing wheel.  We did not do much more today but we made a lot of progress and hoped for some more the next day.  Apart from the steering problem, the Tribot is not stable while going over a ridge.