Light reading?

If you want some terrific entertainment, head over to

Or, if you’d prefer one of the best bits of documentation on real Mars rovers head here instead: (or is that in the USA?)

I’m not joking, that’s the blog of Scott Maxwell, one of the MER Rover Planners, or ‘Rover Drivers’. He intentionally delayed it 5 years, I guess because he had to play by the rules, but whatever – it’s still a great read, and chock full of good info.

I’m reading it a bit late, and I’m only at Sprit Sol 338, so it’s just getting good. I think I’ll have to go back and re-read it again, but this time capture all the interesting technical bits in a file. There are a lot of little things I didn’t know about MER hardware (like dynamic brakes), and a lot of interesting situations that illustrate why a fully autonomous rover is such a challenge.

One thing it did remind me to do before it’s too late: build a Mars Sol Clock.

Soon (2020?) there will be another rover on Mars, and there are still two good rovers there – I’m not betting against Oppy – and I’d like to know which Sol they are on, and how many earth days until significant events in the 2020 mission, like launch, MCC’s, and EDL.

I’ve just ordered the parts, and it’s about $150 (a bit on the spendy side), but like MER it’s solar powered, which at least doubles the price. Once the parts arrive I’ll do a post and release some code for it.

Unitl next time, I’ll just give you a hint.

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