Opportunity Sol 701 (Spirit Sol 722)

This was not a big sol. We were planning to do some RAT bit imaging, but that got scrapped at the SOWG meeting.

"Just so you know, we need to do the RAT bit imaging before the next time Opportunity uses her RAT," Emily Eelkema pointed out.

But, somebody replied, Steve's position was that "the next time the RAT comes out will be at Victoria Crater."

"I guess we've got some time to do the imaging, then."

And that was about that for that.

Still, we at least had something to do -- namely, we did more tai chi. The latest results showed about a 7mm discrepancy between the predicted position and the position computed from the images -- within our error budget, sure, but there's room for improvement all the same. So thisol's big IDD activity will be to move to the image-computed positions, take images there, and run them through the stereo correlation again to help with the (potential) recalibration.

It's not much to do, and delays elsewhere in the process make it a fairly slow day. This is a good thing, as it gives Matt Heverly, who's shadowing Ashitey thisol, a chance to really dig into the sequence. Indeed, Ashitey has Matt pretty much build the sequence from scratch, then disappears. Matt and I take the time to go over everything in the sequence in great detail, a good learning experience for him (I hope).

Life in the Land of Opportunity will stay slow until we start driving again, which could be this weekend but likely won't be until next week. Our next drive target is Overgaard, part of the same outcrop we're studying now -- the drive will of course be a very short one. But it's still important and interesting because PCAM imaging revealed "festoons," little smile-shaped ledges that are strong indicators of past liquid water. So compelling is this evidence that Emily refers to Overgaard as "the Holy Grail of Meridiani Planum."

"I thought that was Victoria Crater?" says Wendy Calvin.

"That's too far away," Emily says simply. "Let's focus on the present."

Victoria Crater is indeed far away. But so were the Columbia Hills when we started driving to them. Behold the triumph of persistence.

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