Hi - I use the Notebook frequently for monitoring missions and finding data. Very useful, a great resource. But I want to ask about the names of features (such as small rocks or craters) and science targets on them.
OK, so for MER I go to the site maps and I can make a map of a site out to a specified distance with feature names on it. I have overlaid those maps on vertical projection mosaics to identify rocks at some sites. (Why? I'm beginning to compile a map and image-based history of MER operations, having just done it for Viking and Pathfinder in a book due out next year).
But... first, it's an inefficient way to find all named features. This is even worse at the Phoenix notebook where I can call up a list of names, then get an annotated photo of it, some of which don't show the named feature or are ambiguous in other ways - but at Phoenix, one site, a more efficient solution would be a panorama with labelled names right on it, as was done for Pathfinder. For MER, a series of labelled pans would be needed. Or maybe an album of photos, organized by site, then by name, showing the named feature and targets.
Second... it seems to me that as we go on in the mission, fewer and fewer names are being recorded in this way. I could be wrong in this example, but I don't think the craters in the Resolution crater cluster (Opportunity) are all available in the MER site maps.
Third, names pile up on other names until they are illegible in some cases.
The MER mission must have records of names used, to avoid duplication. Can we assume the records of names will one day be made available via the Notebook? I would point out that a much better record of feature names must have existed during Phoenix, but the current Phoenix Notebook system of name access is incomplete and cumbersome to say the least. Since names are important for tying observations to places (where is that RAT hole anyway?) an easy-to-use, efficient source of names is very desirable. Maybe MSL can plan for this from the beginning.
Thanks! - Phil Stooke