Spirit Sol 168

Larry's prediction was not as good as Ray's. We overshot the target by about 35cm, and will need to back up thisol. Yestersol I'd thought of shortening the drive by about 20cm, so in a way I'm glad we overshot it by more than that: we'd have missed the target even if I'd made that change. This overshoot will delay our RATting yet another sol, and is consistent with the running joke that we're on an ancient Martian burial ground and are therefore cursed.

So thisol we're IDDing the soil and then doing a very short drive back, so that we'll be able to RAT nextersol.

Or that's the plan until fairly late in the game. I'm catching up on my email and stuff when I realize that an animated discussion is shaping up behind me. The first thing I hear is Larry Soderblom saying, "We spent ten sols getting to this rock only to find out we don't have power to RAT. This could be the straw that -- I mean, I can just hear Ray screaming." He shakes his head. "OK, folks, we have to do some surgery. We're gonna cut two of the four NAVCAM octants and all the IDD work." (Which Chris just spent his whole day on.) "The highest priority is to get to the rock, get it in the right place, and be power-positive so we can RAT. Sorry about that -- but you still got your practice."

So the team gets to work, pruning back the sol. The RPs are left with only a dead-simple sequence, a 27cm backup drive -- with about 10% slip, that should put us 30cm back. That would leave us right in the middle of a zone where we can get a full-strength preload with the RAT, which is exactly what we want. I have only minor changes to make to Chris's version of the sequence, adding a final correcting turn at the end of the drive and one or two other small things, before I'm done.

Emily apologizes for the cutbacks to our sequences -- "Sorry to spoil your fun," she says.

"Ah, no problem," I reply, "it's nice to have a day to catch up on my email." Which it is: my email needed some serious weeding. So that's good, at least.

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