"Why are we at this rock?" Brenda Franklin asks as the SOWG is about to start. "It's not that interesting."
Ashley, who was here for all the craziness of the drive to it, just laughs. "It had better be interesting, after all that!" she says.
The drive went damn near perfectly, I'm happy (not to mention somewhat astonished) to say. In a perfect world, we'd maybe have been a few cm closer and a few cm farther to the left, but compared to how things might have gone, I'm definitely not complaining. Everything we wanted to reach is reachable, there's no rock under the wheel -- Paolo's judgment about nudging us to the right was spot on -- and, as a bonus, we're at a slightly lower tilt than we expected. We can RAT to our hearts' content.
And that's what we're doing, along with other IDD work. As we're in restricted sols, we're planning two sols of IDD work today. The first and more complex sol, with an MI mosaic, RAT placement, and other stuff, is the first one; Chris takes that. Terry's shadowing me today, and I sit with him and coach him through building the less complex IDD sequence for the second sol.
This rock -- which, by the way, has been renamed from "Rock A" to "Posey" -- is probably the last rock we'll investigate in detail here at Home Plate, or anyway at this part of Home Plate. After this, we're going to try to climb up onto the rim, take a peek over it, and then decide if we want to cross it on the way to McCool Hill.
Indeed, there's even some discussion about bagging McCool Hill and just wintering at Home Plate. I hear Larry Soderblom discussing this on the telecon as I work with Terry. "It's maybe not the best use of the rovers," he says. "But we could spend some time crawling along the east side" -- which would help aim the solar panels at the sun -- "and there are good geology questions here, ones that our payload is well suited to answer."
They want to bring Squyres into the discussion, but he's on a plane, or is about to be. So I won't hear the end of that discussion. But I'll find out, I suppose, over the next few weeks.
[Next post: sol 755, February 16.]
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Astonishingly, we made it.