Opportunity Sol 338 (Spirit Sol 359)

I'm nice and early, arriving in the SOWG room maybe ten minutes early for the 08:30 start time. I'm feeling pretty good.

"You can go home," Charles Budney says.


"You can go home." He shrugs. "Or stay late."

"What happened?"

"It's a fuck-up -- no data until 15:20. We're treating it as a restricted sol."

Which means no driving, no IDDing. That blows our schedule out of the water. We were supposed to do our final approach to the heat shield thisol, but now we'll have to put that off for a day. "I'll stay late."

"Tell Art."

I do that, but Art shakes his head. "You're one of many."

That's what I expected. "Gotcha," I say, "but I'm casting my vote. I'm happy to stay late and get this done. After all, I hate to blow off a million-dollar sol."

"Well, in Euros, it's only a couple hundred thousand."

So that doesn't happen. I don't know what caused the delay, except that it resulted from some kind of DSN problem, and it's expected to continue for the near future.

Before leaving, I sign a 50-Tolarjev note -- Slovenian currency. This is something like 29 cents, in US currency. (What did thisol cost in Slovenian Tolarjev? I don't want to think about it.) This kind of thing happens now and then; a space fan from somewhere in the world sends in something for the ops team to sign. I'm always happy to do this, as indeed is most of the ops team. We're just engineers with unusually cool jobs, but it's nice when somebody makes you feel like a rock star.

Justin's the only one who refuses to sign it. "Isn't that illegal?" he frets. "I'm sure I'd be breaking some international money law, or something."

Justin is a nice guy, and a heck of a bright guy; I like him a lot. But for the love of God, Justin! Interpol is not going to drag you off to some UN dungeon for scrawling your name on a Slovenian banknote!

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