Constellation on its way to Antarctica

Posted by Raffael on October 31, 2016.

We haven’t posted anything on our blog for a while, so it’s about time we give you some updates!

On September 19th, 2016, we went to the University of Grenoble to deliver the finalized rover, “Constellation”. We gave a demo of its capabilities to the researchers who are going to testdrive it during their expedition in Antarctica and instructed them on how to use it correctly. As you can see in the picture, the complete system consists of two parts: the rover and a separate field base station in the background, which allows wired and wireless communication to the rover and serves as a differential GPS reference. Both are supplied with solar power - the field base station can even operate completely autonomously thanks to the bigger but heavier solar panel.

Laurent, the principal field operator of Constellation, and his colleague are following the Mission Operations Manual of the rover.

After September, the box with Constellation was air-transported to Hobart in Tasmania, Australia where it arrived on October 10th. It was then loaded onto “l’Astrolabe”, a French icebreaking research vessel bringing personnel and supplies to the Dumont d’Urville research station in Antarctica. The ship has departed from Hobart together with Constellation on October 21st and is now very close to reaching the Southern Continent. You can track the ship in real time on!

Once arrived, the cargo is going to be disembarked by the researchers who are departing from Paris on November 12th. Since the unloading will take at least two weeks, we can expect to get the earliest life signs of Constellation in the beginning of December only.

Background image © Samuel Blanc, CC BY-SA 3.0