Spirit Sol 177

Normally, I come in an hour before the activity plan approval meeting -- which is when I really need to be here -- so I can have some time to get up to speed. Not today: today, we were out looking at houses with our realtor, and I'm just barely on time.

"I never used to really understand why people who are buying a house were late for work," I tell Chris ruefully. "I kept thinking, 'Why can't they get it together and not let this interfere with their job?'"

"Now you get it, huh?"

"Now I get it."

At least I'm not late. And there's not much to get up to speed on today, luckily for me -- we're just IDDing, continuing to poke at what's nearby before we move along.

I also have time to catch up on my email, including notes from the Spirit traversability meeting I missed. If the problem with Spirit's right front wheel is not fixed, we only have 100m to 300m of mileage -- er, meterage -- left before we lose it. I can tell I'm still in denial. Spirit's going to be fine, I keep thinking. They'll fix it.

I only hope that's true.

There's been some progress in unraveling the mystery of the bright scratches Spirit's wheels left behind when climbing the rocks in this area. Larry Soderblom says he thinks the "sparkly bits," as he calls them, are chemical precipitates. I.e., they're chemicals left behind when the local water evaporated -- the clearest evidence yet, he says, for fluids in this area.

Saina Ghandchi is our TUL today, which lately has meant we're on a fast track to uplink. Saina pushes the process along as fast as she can -- today, for instance, we skip the animation at the CAM and, since the IDD sequences haven't changed since the earlier walkthrough, we only skim them. Saina wants to go home!

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