Bad news: in about ten days, Khaled will be a Rover Planner no more. He's leaving, taking over the role of coordinating the flight software uploads.
As politely as I can, I ask him the only question that comes to mind: "Are you crazy?"
"I've been asking myself that," he admits with a mournful tone. "It's certainly not going to be as much fun as this job. But this one doesn't meet those ECAP goals I keep hearing, so ...."
Well, the guy's gotta do what he's gotta do. Andy isn't going to be happy to hear this -- more headaches for him. I'm not too happy about it myself, honestly. Khaled's a fine RP; he came up to speed quickly, knows the rovers well, and is thorough, reliable, and conscientious. He'll be hard to replace.
One thing I won't miss is the smell of his wife's cooking, when he brings in his leftovers for lunch nearly every day. Not that her cooking smells bad. Quite the contrary, it always smells delicious. The problem with this is that it makes my own hunger impossible to ignore -- whenever I get a whiff of Khaled's lunch, I have to go buy lunch from the cafeteria. And that's never as good as his. Darn him!
Thisol's sequencing is not much more complex than yestersol's. Khaled and I put the extra time to good use by preparing the drive sequences. He'd already put together a zeroth draft for the first couple of upcoming drive sols (510 and 511), and we go over them and make some changes together.
Gee, he's not only thorough, reliable, and conscientious, he also works ahead, making things simpler for the rest of us. And now he's leaving.
 An ECAP -- Employee Contribution Assessment and Planning -- is JPL's annual employee performance review.
 Khaled has come and gone a couple of times now. Right now, he's off working on Moonrise, but I hope he'll be back again soon. He's damn good.