Opportunity Sol 388 (Spirit Sol 408)

It's a restricted sol -- no downlink until 15:00 or so -- so no rover driving today. But we're going to have a meeting at 16:00 to discuss the results, and get a sense of what we're going to do tomorrow in our weekend planning. (They decide to start at 07:30 tomorrow. Ugh.)

Before the meeting, I check out the images. We reached the craters! And we have a fantastic view; we look as if we're perched on the lip of one, with the other just beyond it. I don't see the third, but I'm not sure where to look. The rover's wheels are cocked hard to the side, which means we had a motion error somewhere; it should have straightened them. So something's wrong, but it went wrong in a pretty good place.

Mark Maimone sees me as I'm heading up to the meeting. "Jeff says the scientists are happy," he says. Well, that's the point of this little enterprise, so I'm quite happy to hear it.

Upstairs, while Matt Golombek effusively praises the results, I'm getting a different picture. They wanted to end up between the two southern craters, but that's clearly not where we are: we're looking to the west and seeing two craters, which can happen in this triplet only if we're to the east of the southeastern crater, not between the southeastern and southwestern craters. I try several times to point this out to Matt, but he's not listening, and eventually I give up. If they're happy, what does it matter?

Our original plan had been to head southeast for the weekend, so that we'd arrive at Vostok Crater on Monday. But the scientists like the view from here, so we're going to delay that a week or so. In the interim, we'll hang out here, imaging the craters and maybe doing a little IDD work.

And, since flash is filling, we'll downlink as much as possible. As one of the scientists points out, there's not much point in getting to Vostok early if we don't have flash space to take any pictures or to do any other work once we get there.

As the meeting is wrapping up, Matt figures out what I've been trying to tell him, that we're not where we thought we were. "Oh, well," he shrugs, "it's still one hell of a spectacular spot."

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Matt was right: although this wasn't quite where we wanted to end up, it's a spectacular spot.

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