Opportunity Sol 387 (Spirit Sol 407)

Alicia Fallacaro's the KOP -- the Keeper of the Plan -- and since the KOP runs the software that acts as our planning whiteboard, we can't get started without her. When she comes in, Matt Golombek scowls at her. "You're three minutes late!" "That's OK," I tell her sotto voce, "you saved the rest of us from being late -- we all just got here." This sparks an idea in Brian: on early mornings like this, we should pick some crucial team member to be "the late one," so everyone else can straggle in a little late without being so noticeable.

But it doesn't take long for Matt's mood to improve. "The rover planners should be severely applauded for their great work this weekend," he says. (Well, "severely applauded?" Maybe his mood's not so good, at that.) We did about 389m total for the three-day weekend, shattering records. The first slide the Long-Term Planning lead puts up is a diagram showing how this insane megadrive has affected us. There's a line on the diagram showing how much cumulative progress we'd have to have made each sol in order to get to Vostok on schedule, a straight line running diagonally up the slide. The other line shows our actual progress. It lags well below the target line, and then, this weekend, suddenly shoots up vertically, putting us well ahead of schedule.

"Holy cow!" says one of the remote scientists, voicing my thinking exactly. "I haven't seen a diagram like that since back in the Bonneville days!"

Yeah, I remember those days. The days when we thought a 70m drive was really impressive. Thisol we're going for about 90m, and it doesn't feel like much. However, we're not heading south, to Vostok. Instead, we're cutting west, to a crater triplet dubbed "Trieste." Our imaging is lousy, and even if it were better, we wouldn't have very reliable range data at that distance. But the drive azimuth is a doddle to determine, and Tim Parker has done a localization in the orbital data, which should tell us the desired drive distance.

Note that I say "should." As in, should, but doesn't. This is because Tim's in San Diego, and Matt forgot to write down what Tim told him.

Fortunately, Tim has a cell phone, and Matt's able to find him. We work out the azimuth and direction of the actual desired destination, and that's it. Except that Mark Maimone stops by immediately before the walkthrough, and we end up changing half of the sequence.


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