Opportunity Sol 1045 (Spirit Sol 1063)

So now Opportunity is sitting in front of a rock known as Santa Catarina, ready to IDD the heck out of it. As has happened before -- and recently, too -- the target is heavily shadowed, so our terrain mesh is poor. There's a sort of "king's crown" of mesh spikes surrounding the rock and pointing toward the FHAZ.

This makes the whole day ... well ... interesting. Hand-estimating surface normals to the target is always dicey, and it's worse when you reflect that we can break the IDD if we're off by more than 15 degrees.

So that we won't have to do this tomorrow, we also make some time for swinging the IDD away and taking another FHAZ of the IDD workspace. If only the rover had fingers she could cross.

Meanwhile, Santa Catarina itself is an interesting rock. Well, not to me, maybe, but to the science team, and that's all it takes. According to Squyres, "Santa Catarina is the first rock we've seen at Meridiani where, a, we can say something about where on Mars it came from, and b, it's not made of blueberry stuff." Good news for them, then.

Another piece of good news is that I actually see improvement in Terry's IDD sequencing. Especially on a day like today, which is plenty stressful already.

I just hope I haven't spent all my luck on that. I'm going to need some left over for the FHAZ we're taking. Especially since Opportunity can't cross her fingers.

[Next post: sol 1068, January 4.]

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Santa Catarina, in all its heavily shadowed glory. On the next rover, I want headlights, you hear me? Headlights!

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