Spirit Sol 710

Today we're planning three sols. For a long time now, when we've had three sols to plan, we've usually done it so that the rover drivers have only one sol to plan -- at most, two. Today we have stuff to do for all three sols. The first sol, we're continuing IDD work on the El Dorado scuff; on the second, we stow and drive; on the third, we do an autonav-only continuation drive.

Which is kind of insane. But, as Larry Crumpler points out at the SOWG meeting, we're 300-400m behind our drive metric. You know, half of our original mission-success drive metric, more or less. Nothing major. So we need to squeeze in as much driving as possible.

I hate to admit it, but I don't handle it very well. Not in terms of my attitude, which is fine, but in terms of delegating. I somehow get the idea in my head that I should first knock out the IDD stuff and then work with Chris on the drive. But I take longer to finish the IDD work than intended, leaving Chris with little to do. And the drives are both pretty complex. What I ought to have done is push the IDD work onto his plate immediately and take care of the drives -- or vice versa. Another lesson learned, or so I hope.

Not to mention that I keep getting interrupted. The biggest interruption is a tour group behind shepherded around by Charles Elachi and Pete Theisinger. So I figure that's important enough to interrupt my work for a little while. (Turns out they're all related to some high muckety-muck whose name I don't recognize but who's always on our review boards or something. Good call.) I've done a million of these; I give them the usual spiel about why we can't joystick the rovers, what we're up to now, here's a bit about our software, and so forth. They love it, and I love doing it, so what the hell.

Nevertheless, all this delays getting the drive done. Even for a relatively simple drive, this takes longer than it used to, or it feels that way. What makes the game so hard (and so much fun) is that there are a million little things to worry about, many of them interact, and you have to get them all just right. "I almost long for the old days, when we didn't know what could go wrong with a drive," Chris says, and I know what he means. Ignorance wasn't quite bliss, but it can seem that way in hindsight.

[Next post: sol 713, January 4.]

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