Day 5 - Vines in Volcanos

Phil Cherner

Our fifth day in Lanzarote was our biggest data collection day. We began by driving down to the vineyard of Jable de Tao that we had visited earlier in the week. There we met our host and owner of the vineyard, Carmelo, as well as the other owner Matilde and her son, Miguel, and loaded our gear into their truck to get to the field site. Navigating through the volcanic landscape dotted with man-made craters, we were again transported to the moon in this lunar-like environment.

We began by testing the HexSense deployment and left the sensors to gather data for the rest of the time at the site. Additionally, Nathan also set up a prototype of the BuzzCam, developed by Patrick Chwalek of Responsive Environments. 

Once those were deployed, we moved onto testing the AstroAnt on the rover, which involved driving the rover while the Ant moved atop the rover across a marked grid on a steel plate. Through this we were able to check the accuracy of the Ant's motions as it moved around the rover taking thermal imaging of the surface. 

At the same time, Chucho was testing out the papalotes (kites) with their sensors. The crater filled valley we were in cause the wind to be more unpredictable than expected, but despite that, the kites were able to soar and collect initial rounds of data.

While these experiments were taking place, Carmelo, Miguel, and Matilde were working on the vines in the craters. Even though there are no grapes currently since it is the winter season, the vines still need attention. They were performing what is called respect pruning, which is a technique that allows the vines to last for years to come, even in the dry climate of Lanzarote. The vines they were working on were over 70 years old, with the oldest vines in the vineyard reaching over 200 years old. We learned from Carmelo about the importance of preserving the traditional practices of the island and how the warming climate was affecting the crops.

After we finished our collection at the vineyard, Matilde and Alexis graciously invited us to their home to share an amazing meal of local foods. We learned about different traditional dishes such as gofio, which is a toasted wheat that has been a staple of the Lanzarote diet and can be prepared in many different ways. To top it off, their home is right next to the last volcano to be formed on the island almost exactly 200 years ago, providing an incredible view for the delicious meal. 

Leaving lunch, Carmelo took us to see another site that had deposits of limestone and Cody gave a lesson on how the ancient flows of water shaped the rock layers that we saw, providing a visual history of our planet. Carmelo also gave a lesson on the soil in the area and explained how the different soil content directly affect the flavors of the crops

 We then did a quick stop at home to get additional gear before heading to Cueva de Los Verdes for our second private data collection trip in the lava tube. We collected scans of the cave using the rover, handheld scanners, and an iPhone 15 with Lidar to compare the different tools. Additionally, Chucho was able to fly one of his kites inside the tube due to the breeze created through the tunnels.

After a long day of running experiments and collecting data we stopped for dinner at a local restaurant before finally heading home.

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