Spirit Sol 176

This is Cassini's big day -- SOI[1] is upon us. Maybe it's my imagination, but it doesn't seem to me that they're getting the same kind of media coverage we got. Which is a shame: Saturn's a beautiful planet, and Cassini's an exciting mission that will help unravel its mysteries. Still, it seems that the public likes us better.

Nyaah nyaah.

I have my own reasons for being more interested in MER. As usual, today brings something new. As part of solving the problem we've had with the terrain not being where the images made us think it was, we're recalibrating the IDD today. This involves commanding the arm to a series of twenty or so positions, and taking a picture of each one. Later, Eric Baumgartner will compare the commanded position with the actual position as seen in the HAZCAMs, and he'll use that information to recalibrate the IDD.

Steve Squyres has a simpler description: "Martian tai-chi," he calls it.

Since Eric already worked out the sequence of moves, there's not much for Chris and me to do, except modify a few of the poses slightly so that the arm doesn't scrape the ground. Similarly to yesterday, I end up showing the resulting animation to more NASA Code T types who walk through late in the afternoon, guided by Jim Erickson. When they show up, I think they're the entourage of a Congressman who was visiting today -- I waste a minute or two trying to figure out which of them is the Congressman before I realize they're a separate party.

Darn, I was really hoping to see the Congressman and not quite get my picture taken with him. I hate to break with tradition.


[1] Saturn Orbit Insertion.

1 comment:

Chris L said...

I was interviewing a Cassini person a couple of weeks ago who made sure to tell me that their hexagon (the feature at the poles that gets scientists excited and nutters to believe aliens made Saturn) gets more web traffic than the rovers. I've no idea if it's true, but the competition is obviously still alive....