Opportunity Sol 782 (Spirit Sol 803)

Saina's leaving the project. That sucks so bad, I can't even tell you.

I can't blame her; she's a mechanical engineer, and she wants to build stuff. But she's so great at ops, I'll really miss her.

"I think they want me to build the cap part of the aeroshell," she says.

I point out that this means she'll be designing the part of the spacecraft that gets to Mars first, and her face lights up. No way she's coming back to MER ops now.


Today's my first shift driving with Matt Heverly since he started working solo RP-2 shifts. And we've got an interesting one. The end of our current trough is in sight, and as we stare at the images, we start to realize there's nowhere we can safely hop to the next ripple between here and the end.

Unless ....

When I look down at the nearby edge of the images, just off our left side, it looks like the ripple sort of curves out, like an opened gate. A review of our HAZCAMs and the previous sol's images confirms this; there's a low spot almost dead in front of us. We just have to scoot a bit forward, then back across the ripple at a low point and we can head down our neighbor trough just dandy.

So that, of course, is what we do.

As of the start of today's drive, we're about 1660m from Victoria Crater. Put another way, that's only two Victoria-Crater diameters from Victoria Crater itself. And counting.

[Next post: sol 805 (Opportunity sol 785), April 9.]

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