Opportunity Sol 355 (Spirit Sol 374)

Leo Bister asks, "Who's driving thisol?"

Frank and I point to Khaled.

Leo cocks an eye at Khaled and grins wickedly. "Oh, good -- I'll be sure to ask lots of questions ...."

While I was gone, they IDDd the heck out of SpongeBob, finding pretty much what the scientists expected: it's a meteorite. Amazing stuff, and I'm sorry I missed it.

But we're back to the heat shield now. Yestersol's drive brought Opportunity back to an approach position, and thisol we're just bumping 70cm or so to get the piece of interest into the IDD work volume. Khaled's going to do the actual drive, but we have a lot of work to do to decide precisely where it should take us.

To do this, we have to study previous images of this wacky object -- all taken from different perspectives, with different cameras, under different lighting conditions -- and figure out where the strip of TPS material is now, with respect to the rover. It's while doing this that I get really, really annoyed about something.

One of the EDL team members who's been working on this with us, shows me an image from our previous position. He runs his finger along part of it, a part that looks like a bumpy railroad track -- "This is the part we want to MI, right here."

The part he's pointing to is exactly the part I worked out a way to get to the last time we were here, right before he claimed he'd need images at an up-angle -- the angle we couldn't get to from that position, which led to our temporarily leaving the heat shield.

But the part he's running his fingers along is visible from a NAVCAM image, an image where we were looking down at the part.

Which means the part is facing up.

Which means shooting at an up-angle is useless -- we have to shoot at a cross-angle, or down.

Which is what I had before.


Making matters even worse, our reapproach angle is constrained -- we won't be able to get back to the spot we were in before. Our new position will likely be worse.

I need John Wright to come by and say, "This is so cool." But he's off thisol.

Ah, fuck it. We'll do our best. And tomorrow, we'll see how good that was.

[Next post: sol 376 (Opportunity sol 356), January 23.]

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