Monday, January 5, 2004  [!]
Back to much-less intense blogging for me. Thanks for stopping by. The Planetary Society's Wild About Mars was a wonderful place to be for Spirit's landing (see their pictures of the event). So far as I can tell, there's no event planned for Jan 25, when Opportunity lands.

If you want to see what I posted and blogged over the course of the weekend (if you're viewing this on the home page, just scroll down, but I'm perma-linking these for when this'll scroll off the home page):

Saturday - Before landing and landing
(posts are in reverse order, oldest at bottom) pre-landing thoughts and retrospective view of Rovers being built at JPL; Saturday evening's Planetary Society's Wild About Mars Event; Live blogging of landing

Sunday - Post-landing recap; Sunday Events
(posted reverse order; oldest at bottom) post-landing from Saturday, quote from John Rhys-Davies, post-landing live report of first image transmission; Mars Glossary, Mars in the Mind of Man panel discussion; Sunday at Wild About Mars: Spirit mission report at Wild About Mars, including discussion by JPL and Spirit mission leadership, Bill Nye science fun, International Mars exploration reports, late-night wrap-up.

[note: have begun cleaning up these entries for typos and name misspellings, adding a clarifying phrase here and there]

If you're looking for the latest, may I suggest these?

1/5/04; 2:36:07 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

...they're looping a nice sequence:

First, that cool Dan Maas MER mission animation. Then some tests of the airbag, of the parachute, of some rolling test of the rover in JPL's spacecraft assembly facility (same place as these pictures were taken), then the MER Spirit launch, and then various video shots inside Mission Control for entry, descent and landing and the first images being shown.

When the final word comes in that Stanford got the signal "They see it! They see it! It's there!" and the room explodes in exuberance, I'm moved each time.

It was great to be there in a large room full of people watching it on a big screen. Of course, the video cuts past the minutes of waiting, of tension. I remember that. By now, a few press conferences later, I'm familiar with who's who-- I've even blogged their words when they came down to the Wild About Mars event for discussion. I see them hug one another. I am in awe at the expression of triumph and relief, and boggle at the amount of planning it took to make this moment happen. They've worked to get to this point, and here we are and here it is and it is good, so good, better than could have been imagined.

It's hard, in the face of utter success, to comprehend how lucky we are (they are?), with everything going so very well. I can't wrap my mind around it; yesterday, pre-landing, when talking about the squirmy what ifs with my boyfriend, deep down I thought, "Oh, those guys will nail it!" But of course, you can never be sure. But will we expect these better-than-perfection results each time? The landing of Opportunity three weeks from now will provide perspective... if it's also better-than-perfect, well, then maybe there's more to it than tons of work and a big dose of luck. Opportunity will help us calibrate luck's size.

1/5/04; 12:58:31 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |

Done, part time, over a 5 year period. It's a brilliant piece of work.

Also: Play-by-play interpretation of what's going on in the animation.

Also, there is new animation material in the NOVA program, Mars, Dead or Alive, which was aired by PBS tonight (didn't see, watched NASA news briefings instead) and will be re-broadcast on the January 6th at 8pm.

1/5/04; 12:02:49 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |