Spirit Sol 132

All that work we put into the drive, and not much came of it. The rover flight software fataled -- rebooting the rover, and consequently stopping everything -- only a few minutes after the drive started. We only made it about 12.7m.

Nobody knows why the fatal error happened. There was a set of data management sequences running in parallel with the drive, though we have no idea whether there was any connection between that and the error -- we've done this once before, and it worked fine then. Anyway, the rover's apparently healthy; it knows where it is and was able to communicate with Earth right on schedule. They'll just need some time to figure this out.

So they won't need RPs much today -- which doesn't affect me much, since I'm not working today anyway. Chris Leger asks me to fill in for him as RP-1 tomorrow so that he can pick his brother up at the airport (John Wright is in Montreal and Ashitey is already scheduled as RP-2 tomorrow, leaving me as the only other available Spirit RP), so maybe I'll get to do something then. I hope we'll be driving and/or IDDing nextersol -- not only because it will mean the rover's healthy, but also because, since I'm filling in for Chris, I'll be RP-1 for the first time in weeks. It would be nice to have something to do.

But there's nothing for me to do now. They're going to have to devote thisol to gathering data to help diagnose the anomaly -- and, I have to remind myself, I'm not working anyway. So Ashitey and I go explore the Open House a little more. Ashitey's on a quest to get a little card they're handing out -- it's like a baseball card, with a picture of the rover on it. We walk around through all of the MER areas, but we don't find one, and nobody seems to know what he's talking about.

After we return to 264, Ashitey asks Joe Melko, who has one of the cards, where he got his. Joe answers -- in a way that comes across as rather rude -- that they have them over at von Karman auditorium. ("I guess you didn't look hard enough," Joe smirks, not exercising his best social skills.) By this time, they need Ashitey for thisol's sequencing and the upcoming CAM, so he can't go get one. I don't say anything about it to him, but I walk over to von Karman, pick up a card for him, bring it back, and hand it to him. His look of astonished delight makes the short trip more than worthwhile.

As I'm heading to the car, a clearly lost woman with two daughters calls across the street to me. "Do you know where mission operations is?" she asks. Turns out she's looking for 230 -- and she's found it, but she's on the north side of the building, and the entrance she needs is on the south side. "Follow me!" I say, and I lead them around to the other side.

As we're walking, she asks what I do, and I tell her I'm one of the rover drivers for Spirit. She and her daughters are astonished. ("Really? Really? Really?") "Oh, but you look so young," she exclaims. (I never get tired of hearing that. Such vanity!) We talk a little more about the mission, and she shakes her head wonderingly. "You have the dream job," she says.

Yes. Yes, I do.

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