2011-06-17

Opportunity Sol 852 (Spirit Sol 873)

Opportunity's entering restricted sols -- "a good thing, for once," as somebody points out, "since we don't have enough power to drive every sol any more anyhow."

We're losing energy, and worse, we're losing Eric Baumgartner. (I am the King of the Segues.) He's heading off to become the Dean of Engineering at Ohio Northern University. I hand him a poster we all signed for him, and shake his hand.

Eric is the kind of genius I can only wish I were. Smarter than hell, a fantastic engineer, but also great with people -- terrific social skills, a top-notch manager. And somehow he finds time to coach his kid's soccer team. It's a real loss to the Lab.

Depressed, I head downstairs to plan thisol's drive, which is a challenge. The trough before us ends in sort of a cul-de-sac about 20m away. Lying across the trough is a sort of "pitcher's mound" -- likely soft material we don't want to drive over -- and a few meters behind that is another one. Paolo wants to stop short of the first pitcher's mound, but I think we can take it, and I manage to convince him of it. Instead, we're going to drive up onto the ripple beside it, nestle in the hollow between mounds, and then scoot off into the next trough to the east. If we make it that far, we'll turn south again and back across a big patch of outcrop.

I'm either insane, or a genius. I mean, not an Eric Baumgartner genius. But a genius, anyway.

Or insane.

[Next post: sol 876 (Opportunity sol 855), June 20.]

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