Spirit Sol 100

On my way in, Ben Toyoshima says, "Hey, I saw your TV interview on Life & Times the other night -- you were pretty good!" Wow, someone actually saw it.[1]

I'm in early because I have visitors -- or, to be precise, Susan Kurtik[2] has visitors (her doctor and the doctor's two sons -- Nancy, Ethan, and Jacob), and Susan asked if I could show them around the SMSA and stuff. Susan's the bomb, so what the hell.

Nancy and her kids are very nice and enthusiastic, but it takes me a few minutes to recalibrate to dealing with kids. In the SMSA, I start pointing out the spacecraft subsystems, and I can see that the kids (they're maybe 10 years old) aren't following me. So I try a different approach. "They split up the spacecraft into parts, and there's somebody responsible for each of the parts," I say. "They sit there, there, and there ...." That works. A few minutes later, we're walking through a meeting room and I mention offhand that this is where the engineering and science teams get together at the beginning of the day to argue about the structure of the day. "So this is an argue room?" Jacob asks. "Around here, they're all argue rooms," I tell him.

I also show them the big science meeting room, and then the sequencing MSA, where I've set up HyperDrive. I let them play with the software, zooming around in 3-D, and show them the true-stereo view through the special goggles we hardly ever use.

I ask Jacob and Ethan, "So you guys are gonna graduate soon and start working here?" "Well, after our career in Major League Baseball," Jacob says. His mom rolls her eyes. "I don't think we have a lot of people working here who used to be pro baseball players," I tell him gently, and just as his face falls, I add, "so I guess you'll be the first!"

"Hey, yeah!" he says.

Right on, kid.

I'm back on shift for real today; since we're short a driver, I'll be working a lot of extra shifts. This is despite the fact that Ashitey is going to become a rover driver for Spirit -- not, as we thought yesterday, Opportunity. But he's not ready to be turned loose yet, so he's shadowing me again. So is John, but while I'm technically the primary RP-2 and he's technically the shadow, I'm still learning from him, not the reverse. It's all complicated.

Just after we've delivered the sequences, I'm getting ready to build the movie for the uplink report, and I notice something I hadn't noticed before. When we're closing the APXS doors, the IDD turret comes awfully close to the forearm. If the real vehicle does that, it might be just fine -- or it might trigger a collision-detection fault that will screw up the whole day. So I have to do the classic RP-2 thing: add a command to tip the wrist forward so there's no question of a collision, then redeliver the sequence. RP-2s have to do this so often it's not even a joke any more (Cindy, the SIE today, even bundled the RP sequences separately in anticipation of such an event), but it's funny that I'm doing it on my first sol. At least this confirms what we've been saying all along about the importance of having two RPs: Chris didn't see this when he built the sequence, and if we hadn't had a second (and third and fourth) pair of eyes looking over everything, it's entirely possible we'd have blown a sol.

Speaking of redelivering things, I find out only today that they want me to redeliver RoSE tomorrow. So I have to stay late, testing and building the new delivery. At the last minute, I decide to test one of the new features on the flight LAN, only to discover that it works fine in my development environment, worked fine in the test environment, but doesn't work on the flight LAN for some damn reason. So I have to spend even more time tracking that down and figuring out a workaround. Sheesh.

Worst. Delivery. Ever.

Bleah. I go home.

[1] A lot of people, as it turned out. Must be a popular show among JPLers -- people were mentioning it to me for days.

[2] Susan was my first boss at JPL, and indeed hired me in the first place -- she was the recruiter who came out to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while I was there. I adore her.

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