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Desert Rats 2010 Operations Tests: Insights from the Geology Crew MembersDesert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) is a multi-year series of tests of NASA hardware and operations deployed in the high desert of Arizona. Conducted annually since 1997, these activities exercise planetary surface hardware and operations in relatively harsh conditions where long-distance, multi-day roving is achievable. Such activities not only test vehicle subsystems, they also stress communications and operations systems and enable testing of science operations approaches that advance human and robotic surface exploration capabilities. Desert RATS 2010 tested two crewed rovers designed as first-generation prototypes of small pressurized vehicles, consistent with exploration architecture designs. Each rover provided the internal volume necessary for crewmembers to live and work for periods up to 14 days, as well as allowing for extravehicular activities (EVAs) through the use of rear-mounted suit ports. The 2010 test was designed to simulate geologic science traverses over a 14-day period through a volcanic field that is analogous to volcanic terrains observed throughout the Solar System. The test was conducted between 31 August and 13 September 2010. Two crewmembers lived in and operated each rover for a week with a "shift change" on day 7, resulting in a total of eight test subjects for the two-week period. Each crew consisted of an engineer/commander and an experienced field geologist. Three of the engineer/commanders were experienced astronauts with at least one Space Shuttle flight. The field geologists were drawn from the scientific community, based on funded and published field expertise.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bleacher, J. E. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Hurtado, J. M., Jr. (Texas Univ. El Paso, TX, United States)
Young, K. E. (Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Rice, J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Garry, W. B. (Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC, United States)
Eppler, D. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
March 7, 2011
Subject Category
Geosciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Lunar Planetary Science Conference(The Woodlands, TX)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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