Captain's Log, Supplemental: A Final Word

So that's it -- that's where my life got too complicated to continue transcribing what happened each day on MER. It's been a blast to revisit MER's early days -- it all flows by so fast when it's happening, and it's been a treat to get to live it all over again.

And, of course, to contemplate how my life has changed in those years. Deaths, divorce, new beginnings -- the rovers have been there to anchor me through ups and downs. No matter how bad things got, I'd go to work, reach across a hundred million miles of emptiness, and move something on the surface of another world. It was always magic. I can't imagine what it would have been like without my twin girls, and I'm deeply grateful that I haven't had to find out.

I'll try to write another blog like this one for MSL, though of course you might have to wait five years to read it. (Discussions with JPL's media folks will begin soon.) In the meantime, whatever happens with that, you can always follow along with MER at the MER home page, and of course I'll continue spouting off from time to time at my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

As I always say, it's one thing to drive a rover around on Mars -- that would be cool, but the real fun for me is that I get to take everyone in the world along in the back seat. This blog has been another way to do that, and I'll miss it now that it's gone.

Thank you for sharing this adventure with me. Thanks for reading.

Opportunity Sol 1138 (Spirit Sol 1158)

It couldn't be a better day to be on shift with Tara and Julie, because we have a visitor. The visitor is Brenda's surgeon's daughter, Amanda. She's graduating from high school and is interested in robotics.

According to Brenda, Amanda has the silly idea that women maybe can't do robotics (even though she's into the field herself), so it's fabulous that she's here on a day when she gets to see two women drive the rover -- 35m toward the dark streak. And not just any two women -- two young, very bright women, who give her lots of terrific advice about college and grad school into the bargain.

Squyres always says this is the best thing we can do: however well we've done, we must inspire the next generation to outdo us. Do it, Amanda.


Opportunity Sol 1136 (Spirit Sol 1157)

We come in all hot to drive to the dark streak east of us -- and are sorely disappointed. We had a joint-1 stall in the IDD sequence yesterday. So today turns into a less exciting one; we just have to redo most of yesterday's sequence. But at least it's easy, and it's OK to have an easy one now and then.

Sharon makes time to shadow part of the day again, and delivers her first sequence ever!