Opportunity Sol 1101 (Spirit Sol 1121)

It's a busy day. We start off with a MB soil-touch test, just planting the MB on the soil to see if the contact switches trip -- not that there's anything wrong with Opportunity's MB, but this exercises most of the same software path that's a possible culprit in the Spirit MB contact problem. Whether we see the same problem on Opportunity or not, we'll help narrow down our suspects.

After that, we're driving, putting some distance between us and Cabo Corrientes. The first part of the drive uses Visual Target Tracking, a new R9.2 flight software feature we're still checking out. After that, it's a cool 30m of autonav toward the Cape of Good Hope. You know, the one on Mars, not the original.

We need the help of the main VTT developer, Won Kim, to be sure we're doing today's part of the VTT checkout right. I am quickly reminded that research guys aren't used to ops -- they don't have the sense that you gotta do stuff and make decisions right now because there's a tactical deadline, and if you miss it, you blow a sol. So they aren't in the constant hurry that characterizes the rest of us. They dither. They optimize. They tweak.

They drive me nuts.

So I put him with Terry. Which isn't mean; it's a brilliant (ahem) solution because Terry himself comes from that world but understands this one, so he can speak Won's language and still get things done on time.

And it works out just that way. Despite some early delays, we're mindful of the hard 14:30 deadline that Matt Keuneke spells out for us, and we meet it with room to spare. Hell, we're ready at 14:00. It's almost embarrassing.

Since we have all this extra time, maybe we can afford to dither, and optimize, and tweak. Or, come to think of it, let's not.

[Next post: sol 1105 (Opportunity sol 1125), March 3.]

No comments: