Thisol we're planning a little light IDD work for the weekend -- an MI mosaic, a RAT brush, a RAT-to-APXS tool change. The next sol, we just switch from the APXS to the MB.
Since I'm coming back from the other side of the planet, I have no context at all. The SOWG meeting keeps me hopping, evaluating terrain and imaging requests as well as target reachability. This is the sort of thing that used to drive me nuts back in the nominal mission, but now I have more experience -- and confidence -- so I handle it with aplomb. Maybe even two plombs. Whatever those are.
Later on I find that the target we're using isn't quite as good as I thought earlier. At the end of the first sol, our APXS placement brings the turret right up to the hardstop. The maximum angle for the turret is 3.30 radians, and RSVP shows this placement goes to 3.297. If you allow for the possibility of early contact (a possibility we must always consider), the simulation gives an even more worrisome result: 3.299. Theoretically we should be fine, but that's not exactly a whole lot of margin. So I end up tweaking the target normal slightly, just for the APXS placement.
It's Jascha's last sol before he goes off to grad school, and it's Heather Arneson's last sol as a PANCAM PUL; in two weeks, she'll also be gone. I never knew Jascha well, but I knew Heather very well. She was not only damn good at her job, she also had a fantastic attitude. I missed her when she left JPL to go back for Ithaca -- for months she's been just a voice on the phone -- and I'll miss her when she leaves us for good. As it happens, Heather (and Miles, her boyfriend and also a PANCAM team member) is heading to my own alma mater, the UIUC. "It's a great school, if you can handle the weather," I tell her. Then again, she's used to Ithaca, NY. Heck, Illinois weather might be better.
Shoot, Mars might be better.
[Next post: sol 487, May 17.]