Spirit Sol 1103

Hot damn! She can still dance!

I can't sleep, of course, so I get up and check out the downlink. It takes me a couple of minutes to realize that the reason it looks funny is that she made it, and then some. The reason I don't see a big churn of soil right in front of us is that it's at the other end of a long drag mark, meters away now.

Not only did she turn completely around, but she also managed to complete nearly the entire bonus drive.

Baby, I'll never underestimate you again. That's a promise.

What do you do with a rover this feisty? You give her a bigger challenge. And that's what we're up to today. Continuing to follow her old tracks back toward Home Plate, we plot a course that slaloms backward -- northwest, west, northwest again -- for a total of 11 meters or so. Part of that, again, is bonus driving; we'll take it if we can get it, but we don't expect to ... wait a minute, what did I just say? I'm not doubting you, baby, I promise!

For all that, it's not a particularly complicated day. We've been developing a reusable library of sequences to help build chunks of the drive, and we're able to use them to build most of the drive today. This confirms that the Observer Curse continues. (The Observer Curse is this: when I bring in a new RSVP developer to watch the process, as I've done today, it always turns out to be a fairly simple day. It's good that this leaves us time to answer questions, but when it's not a pressure cooker, it's hard for an observer to appreciate the need for rapid, solid tools. Oh, well. I'll have to communicate that need to Bruce-John[1] some other way.)

And by the way, I learn at the SOWG meeting that today is the first day of Martian Spring. No wonder Spirit is in such a good mood! She's feeling her oats and rarin' to go.

And if we don't come in tomorrow and find that she's gone the whole 11 meters, I'll eat my hat.

[Next post: sol 1109, February 15.]

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. Looking back at the long right-front-wheel streak we left on this past drive.


[1] John Baldwin was a developer we brought in for a while to work on my part of the RSVP software, RSVP-RoSE. Since we already had a John (John Wright), we called the new John "Bruce," or sometimes "Bruce-John." It's a reference to a Monty Python sketch. And I remind you that there is no Rule Six!

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