Spirit Sol 625

I must be bad luck or something. This is the third consecutive sol I've worked where we were missing important drive imagery.

Thisol we're missing most of the NCAMs that were to support our final approach to Hillary, a juicy rock target here at the true summit of Husband Hill. Fortunately, the one NCAM we do have covers the straightforward approach to Hillary. Unfortunately, the straightforward approach is a no-go for comm reasons. So instead of tackling it head-on in a northward drive, we have to skirt around so that we're heading at it more northeasterly. And this means taking on much higher tilt -- nearly 30 degrees, above our comfort level.

(Hillary is, of course, named in honor of Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary. To my surprise, the man is still alive, in his late eighties. Squyres is planning to email him some images of the rock we've named for him. I find this somehow bizarre, as if we were going to send a fax to Erik the Red.)

We're trying to get Spirit into position to IDD, including some very long-term MB and APXS integrations, for the few days that there's no RP coverage because everyone's in Hawaii. We could possibly recover if we need to use tomorrow (Thursday) for a final bump, but that will make Friday hellacious. And if we don't make it on Thursday either, well, somebody's not going to Hawaii, I guess.

The high tilt on this drive is making everyone nervous. After much discussion, Ashitey and I come up with a set of safeguards that should keep Spirit safe while still giving us a good chance of making it to the goal. An even lengthier discussion sells it to the rest of the uplink team. "Just give me time to update my résumé," deadpans Saina.

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Our NCAM of Hillary.

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