Opportunity Sol 532 (Spirit Sol 552)

Unfortunately, the "Scotty" target we picked out last time doesn't seem to be worthy of more detailed study. So we won't be hanging around here; we'll be moving on. Or, as the LTP lead puts it: "It's time to say a fond goodbye to 'Scotty' and turn and go where no rover has gone before." We plan another 30m drive south -- another step toward Erebus.

However, we're not done with the Scotty theme yet. The target names for thisol follow a Scottish theme (e.g., "Glasgow"). I go a bit nuts with it, attaching a picture of Scotty to our uplink report (as "today's guest rover driver") and adding a bunch of Trek-related comments to the sequence. The get-fine-attitude command becomes "remodulating the shield harmonics." One of my comments on a drive command speaks of going to warp 5. A little ripple we cross along the way is grandly named "DenebianSlimeDevil." And, of course, our destination target for the drive is named "FinalFrontier."

I think this puzzles Paolo Bellutta, who grew up in Italy and apparently doesn't know much about Star Trek. As if he didn't have enough to deal with -- he's shadowing Frank (whom I haven't worked with since forever) as RP-2, and we're kicking that up a notch.

"You want to handle the walkthrough?" I ask him.

"No, no," he says.

I clap him on the shoulder and grin. "That's exactly why you're going to do it."

And he does. He's kind of shy, I think, so I feel for him. But it's the only way he'll grow. And you know what? He does a fine job with the difficult circumstances, proving himself a true engineer. Paolo doesn't know it, but Scotty would be proud.

[Next post: sol 555 (Opportunity sol 535), July 26.]

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