At the end of the SOWG meeting, I point out to the whole team what I was able to mention to only a few people yesterday: that we're now up to sol 810 on Opportunity, fully nine times our nominal mission. And there is much rejoicing -- applause and cheers on the audio net.
The drive went beautifully, just perfect. We're perched on the side of the ripple just as we'd hoped. Only problem: there's no visible banding.
Well, it's barely visible if you stretch the images juuust right. But apparently this is something that disappears up close; it's a lot more visible if you look off to either side, along the ripple. That's a weird effect. It's plainly some sort of optical illusion, but I have no idea what causes it.
The bad thing about being perched on the ripple like this is that we took an energy hit, our available energy dropping from somewhere around 440 W-hr to about 386 W-hr, due, apparently, to the 10 degrees of unfavorable tilt we picked up.
Anyway, we're here, and we're going to IDD this thing. While Jeng plans the drive -- a surprisingly aggressive 40 meters -- I work out the IDD sequence. It's unusual for an IDD sequence, a 1x10 mosaic -- basically a vertical column of images all the way down the face. Since the local ripple surface is so uniform, the sequence ends up being nice and clean; I'm quite proud of it. And I hope it works.
[Next post: sol 835 (Opportunity sol 814), May 9.]