Blind field tests of the Field Integration Design and Operations (FIDO) prototype Mars rover were carried out 7-16 May 2000. A Core Operations Team (COT), sequestered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory without knowledge of test site location, prepared command sequences and interpreted data acquired by the rover. Instrument sensors included a stereo panoramic camera, navigational and hazard-avoidance cameras, a color microscopic imager, an infrared point spectrometer, and a rock coring drill. The COT designed command sequences, which were relayed by satellite uplink to the rover, and evaluated instrument data. Using aerial photos and Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data, and information from the rover sensors, the COT inferred the geology of the landing site during the 18 sol mission, including lithologic diversity, stratigraphic relationships, environments of deposition, and weathering characteristics. Prominent lithologic units were interpreted to be dolomite-bearing rocks, kaolinite-bearing altered felsic volcanic materials, and basalt. The color panoramic camera revealed sedimentary layering and rock textures, and geologic relationships seen in rock exposures. The infrared point spectrometer permitted identification of prominent carbonate and kaolinite spectral features and permitted correlations to outcrops that could not be reached by the rover. The color microscopic imager revealed fine-scale rock textures, soil components, and results of coring experiments. Test results show that close-up interrogation of rocks is essential to investigations of geologic environments and that observations must include scales ranging from individual boulders and outcrops (microscopic, macroscopic) to orbital remote sensing, with sufficient intermediate steps (descent images) to connect in situ and remote observations.
Additional publication details
Remotely sensed geology from lander-based to orbital perspectives: Results of FIDO rover May 2000 field tests