Canali and slip check!

Posted: June 5, 2006 in Astronomy & Space



What a long way our technology has brought us, in 1877 an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli was director of the Milan Observatory described canals on the surface of Mars, canali meaning channels in Italian. Percival Lowell also saw these canali, mistranslated canali into canals and decided that they were the work of intelligent beings. Schiaparelli himself remaining sceptical of claims that these canals were artificial

Today, of the two Mars rovers, Opportunity has had a slip check, reports: 'Opportunity is less than 1 kilometer (just over half a mile) from reaching Victoria Crater – its destination for several months. During the last planned drive on May 28, on sol, or Martin day, 833, the rover became embedded in a soft dune. As designed, mission controllers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory stopped the drive by a slip check.’ The onboard slip check uses visual odometry to compare nearby features and determine the actual distance traveled. Software computes the amount of slip based on the difference between the actual distance traveled versus commanded wheel rotations. The team has defined a maximum allowable percentage of slip, and if the computed slippage exceeds the maximum allowable, further driving is precluded.

Current distance of Mars from Earth (and the distance the image above has traveled) is 328.523 million km


Image from JPL website 


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