The SSLP (Soil Sample Learning Program) has begun this morning during the first EVA. Few problems have been faced:
Two of the sphygmomanometers came back with no data in memory. A short-circuit that reset them is suspected. Electrical insulation must be improved.
One of them has only one set of data in memory (which is probably the measurement done before conducting the soil sample).
The last one recorded the two set of data required.
Data from the helmet environment already show that there is a clear increase of temperature and humidity by doing soil sampling. Without the biodata, it can only be assumed that the process is physically demanding. Temperature rise ranges from 0.7 to 4.2°C and humidity rise ranges from 4 to 7%. It will be hard to separate the influence of the physical stress from the influence of the helmet configuration.
Analysis of the samples should have already been done this afternoon.
One of the analysis that must
be conducted is the evaluation of the density. The first protocol that has been tested produce results with large discrepancies (up to 100%) from a run to another with the same sample. A better protocol has been set up which produce results with a 10% accuracy (with probably a bias from an heterogeneous sample).
Density analysis can now be done since the latest protocol tried seems to be accurate enough.
Color and grain size distribution are the two other analysis which will be conducted. For the color analysis, it will be a simple image processing. But the grain size distribution should be done by an image processing routine that is still under development.
The analysis of the sample is supposed to be finished before the next EVA in order to assess the need for practice and possibly plan more EVAs. But since the first attempt has just been done, it is so far impossible to assess that. A second sample is needed to have the start of a learning slope.
To conclude, the analysis will be conducted behind schedule but will not delay the project as long as it is conducted before the third EVA.