Opportunity Sol 379 (Spirit Sol 399)

Charles has a beautiful shiner. I can't resist asking him about it.

"Friday was not a good day for me," he says. "I was driving through Old Town Pasadena, turning down Fair Oaks, and I hit a pedestrian. I got out of my car to check on her, and this guy yelled, 'You hit her!' and sucker-punched me." He mimes throwing his head back as a result of the punch. "That was his contribution to the situation. I've got problems, but he has a felony assault charge."


Yesterday they ran a checkout of the new mobility flight software. It looks like it generally went well. At least the vehicle didn't die. And it ended up near where it was supposed to. But not quite where it was supposed to -- it's about 1.8m away from its intended destination, a ten percent error or so, and Jeff and Mark aren't sure why. It might be something as benign as simple error in the previous sols' images -- that is, the things in the world might not have been exactly where we thought they were, which would explain why they're still not, if you see what I mean. But until we're sure, we don't want to go much of anywhere.

Which is fine by the scientists. The intended target of our drive, a possible meteorite dubbed "Russet" (as in the potato), is directly in front of our right front wheel. So thisol's drive is just a turn in place, to put Russet in our work volume. It takes me barely five minutes to write it.

That gives me some time to participate in the planning for the upcoming drives. If I'm lucky, by the end of the week we'll be back to the routine of long driving I missed the last round of. I might yet get my shot at another record! (Probably not -- we likely can't outdo what's been done -- but at least for now I can hope.) Our next near-term goal will be to skate between a couple of craters currently about 40m southwest of us, stopping on the way by to image them. Then we'll turn more to the south and floor it.

As usual, there's a problem. The craters are far enough apart that we won't be able to image both of them well from a single spot. Ray and the other scientists say they're more interested in the southern crater, so I suggest a different plan. My idea is, don't bother going between the two craters and then turning south. Just go to the south of the southern crater, image it from relatively close (and image the other one as well as we can), and move on. This takes us less far out of our way and gets them equivalent results.

"Scott's pretty smart!" Ray exclaims. "I'm glad you're here, buddy!"

No doubt about it: I'm definitely having a better day than Charles.

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Russet is just in front of Opportunity's RF wheel. You want me to drive all the way to Russet? In just one sol? Well, I do like a challenge ....

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