Opportunity Sol 1107 (Spirit Sol 1128)

The bump to the rim of Cabo Corrientes went well. The drive currents on the RF wheel were a little high, so Paolo recommends we do this bump backward. I believe the concern about Opportunity's RF wheel is overstated; we're seeing higher currents when we drive because the stuck steering actuator makes that wheel fight the others, and this is marginally detectable on outcrop or very hard-packed soil such as we have under us now.[1]

But we like erring on the side of caution, and anyway driving backward is natural thisol: the turn is shorter in that direction, and counterclockwise (and hence won't scoop material into the RF wheel) to boot.

All in all, it's a laid-back day. I can certainly say that the 4m Opportunity is driving today pales in comparison to the more than 42km -- that's right, km -- Ashitey ran the other day. 42km is about 26 miles to you and me, a marathon. He's not exactly trying to hide it; he's actually walking around wearing his medal. Well, hell, if I were Ashitey, I'd be doing the same thing.

The only thing that could make today better would be if Frank were back from paternity leave. And he is! Even though he won't be driving the rovers again for a while -- maybe never again -- he's going to stay connected via strategic work. And, heck, he's a great guy; it's just nice to have him back.[2]

[Next post: sol 1136, March 15.]


[1] Nope. As usual, Paolo was right: this was a very early sign of what developed into fairly significant trouble with that wheel. To this day, we don't know what's wrong with it, but as long as we drive Opportunity almost exclusively backward, the problem stays under control. Once again, let us all bow to Paolo!

[2] Happily, Frank eventually made time for MER again in his schedule -- and for MSL. He's the Endeavour exploration lead for Opportunity, and he'll join me on MSL as a rover driver as well. Life just keeps getting better!

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