Opportunity Sol 307 (Spirit Sol 328)

We were supposed to start at 11:00 yesterday, but they moved it up to 10:00. Worse, today we were supposed to start at 13:00, but they moved it up to 08:00. Being a Friday, we're doing a three-sol plan; everybody wants out early, and since we happen not to need the downlink for planning, they choose to start early.

I need to ensure that I'm consulted on this decision in future. Happily, a suggestion to start earlier on Monday is shot down; Ray, who will be the SOWG chair Monday, isn't available to give his approval. So Monday, at least, we'll start at a civilized hour, 13:00. Ahhh ....

While Brian and I are working, Chris Leger comes up from the Spirit World with a tricky mobility question. Brian and I don't know the answer -- it's really a Mark Maimone question. But Mark is getting married today. "Think it would be bad to interrupt that for a mobility question?" Chris asks. He pretends to think about it. "Maybe I'll see if I can reach Jeff instead."

As for us, we won't be driving for several sols. It's all IDD work this weekend; Monday, the IDD work continues. In the best case, on Tuesday we'll back up and image the results of our handiwork, and maybe drive to the base of the egress chute. I'm on shift Monday and Tuesday, which means I won't be doing the egress drive even if all goes perfectly between now and then. Which suits me fine, for two reasons. First, I didn't do the ingress, and there might be special tricks to the driving that I don't know about. And second, I think one of the Opportunity drivers -- one of the guys who's just sick to death of being in a crater -- should be the one to take us out. They'd get so much more satisfaction out of it than I would.

Thisol's sequencing couldn't be much simpler; it's largely similar to yestersol's. Which leaves us time to talk to Kevin Talley about some work he wants us to do for Phoenix. I don't want to think about it, much less talk about it, but Brian wants to make sure (a) that RSVP continues to be used for Mars missions, and (b) that there's funding available in case MER disappears. ("Someday, these rovers will die," he says. "And when it happens, we might not get a lot of warning." Killjoy.)

With Kevin the discussion always eventually (d)evolves toward things that blow up. (He must miss being in the military.) He mentions an idea Larry Soderblom had for MER: drop a few grenade-like explosives just before landing, to expose fresh surface for the rovers to investigate. The technical details were, ah, a little light, and obviously the idea never came to fruition.

In part because large parts of thisol's IDD sequences are built through the magic of copy-&-paste, we cruise to an easy finish. Andy's imposed a ten-hour limit on a single day's sequencing, even when, as today, we're building a three-sol plan. Today we finish in nine hours and fifty-five minutes, five minutes early. And there was much rejoicing.

[Next post: sol 331, December 7.]

No comments: