Our last drive went well, gaining us about 33m of the 2km or so toward Victoria. Well, the journey of a thousand meters begins with a single arc, or something like that.
Anyway, the trough (or "half-pipe" as some are calling them now) that we're in continues -- we've got plenty of room. There's another easy 35m in front of us, and when Jeng and I look carefully at the data, we each conclude we can go a lot farther. Initially, we're thinking of going about 70m, though we end up cutting back to 50m. What's particularly annoying about this is that we had to cut back on the PCAM quality because there simply wasn't room in the downlink, and if we hadn't had to do that, we'd likely have been able to do a 70m drive thisol. We do throw in a bit of bonus driving with guarded arcs at the end, which will eat up drive time in case it's as safe out there as we suspect it is, but this won't add more than about 5m to our total.
Still, 50m is good; we won't get a lot of chances at drives like this, and we should take 'em when we can get 'em. Might as well get ahead of our drive metric while we can. The scientists will want us to stop and fiddle around with something pointlessly soon enough. And as I try to remind everybody, we used to spit on a 30m sol. I guess we'll never go back to the days of 200m sols, now that we need to stow and unstow around the drives, but we should push it as far and as fast as we can.
Did I say stow and unstow? In keeping with our new Western theme, we have new nomenclature: we no longer stow and unstow the IDD, we now holster and draw it.
We should have been saying that all along.
[Next post: sol 765 (Opportunity sol 784), March 18.]