Spirit Sol 690

We didn't get all the data we were supposed to get -- it's stuck someplace on Earth, but hasn't made it to the flight ops LAN yet.

The question is whether we can still do the drive with what we've got. (Or rather, with what we had yesterday: we came in then and planned most of the drive already, since there was no time pressure that way.)

We could do a better drive if we had all the data, but it looks like we've got enough -- at least we have NAVCAM coverage of the areas to the right and left of Miami, which towers over us, like, uh, a tower or something. What we can see of the direct path to Comanche is unpromising; most paths are blocked or worrisomely bumpy, and from what we can see, the one path we find that leads straight to the ridge looks like we'd more or less fall right over it. Visions of Wile E. Coyote dance in my head. Of course, we'd have the rover on autonav, so she'd keep herself safe, but our best estimate, backed up by what we can see of this area from images taken higher on the hill, is that the path down from there is steep and bumpy.

This contrasts with the longer path that leads to the left (east) around Miami -- which I take to calling the Miami Bypass. There the route is relatively smooth along the area we can see, and the earlier images suggest a smooth and gentle path. A longer one, but an easier one; all things considered, the long way might be faster. So we go that way.

It's starting to feel like Old Timer's Day around here. Mark Adler's been here recently, though not today. But Julie Townsend is back, as is Matt Keuneke, and Rob Manning stops by for a visit. As does Steve Squyres, which is always a pleasant surprise. He's on a layover between flights or something, and couldn't stay away.

He also bugs us about the drive we're planning -- why are we going to the left of Miami, not to the right? He's only seen the 2-D versions of the images, as it turns out. I bring up the true-stereo 3-D images in RSVP, and Steve slaps on the goggles. It just takes one glance. "I'm convinced!"

[Next post: sol 692, December 13.]

No comments: