Sunday, January 25, 2004  [!]
Watching NASA TV live in the ground control room. Trying to figure out what's going on. Look up, see that it's 7 oclock. oh! the Blog The President show is on the radio. Getting a bit of media overload, here.

Now Chris Lydon says, "If a Martian were to come to your country and say 'tell me about you' you'd go and take 'em to your bloggers" [rough paraphrase]. This is getting to ridiculously cross-referential! Heh, I've been blogging Mars....

1/25/04; 7:29:41 PM | Blog Buddies | Discuss | # | |

This time around we TiVoed landing; are sitting here watching it again. Man, it was nothing like the last time's 10-15 minute nail-biting wait to get confirming signal that the lander was safe on Mars. From an earlier press conference, Rob Manning said they'd be listening to both polarizations of a signal, and it came through for them clear and quick. Also a pleasure to watch and not type simultaneously.

This blogging-it-quick habit is addicting, but in doing so I miss some of the visuals, and, frankly, the significance. It's nice to sit here next to Doc M (boyfriend, JPL employee)... since he's not typing, just drinking it all in. So when, last night we were looking at first images, he was saying, "wow! wow. Never seen that before" it takes me out of my typing/transcribing mode: "What? what? new? yes, Mars. First views, rock outcroppings. Never seen before? Oh yeah, that's right, it's Cool! This is a first." I guess this is missing the forest for the trees. Or something.

1/25/04; 4:48:11 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

There's someone named Dan McCleese, chief scientist being shown on NASA TV; it's like watching a one-sided conversation. He's talking to Scott; we don't hear the rest of the conversation. but there he is, on screen, talking to someone. I feel, well, embarrassed for him. like I'm eavesdropping on something. Even tho it's all set up and someone forgot (or was unable) to get audio from the other half of the conversation working. A little slip, and the result is that I, well, I don't want to pay too close attention to it; it makes me a little squeamish. Sigh of relief. It's over now. back to a still image of NASA TV...

Okay, okay, he talked about how electric it was in the room last night during landing. LIke a sporting event, not your dry engineer types.

At the beginning of the press conference right after landing, the moderator said something about how if this looked like the superbowl locker room, well, it's because it is--this team just won the superbowl.

Pictures of Wayne Lee and his broom, which you can see on the Yahoo Press Photos page.. must mean "a clean sweep" in the two-for-two landings. I wnted to see a picture of Richard Cook (deputy director of Mars Rover Mission) hugging Rob Manning (manger of Entry Descent and Landing) from the side, knocking Manning's glasses all askew. But that was before Ahnold and Al Gore showed up and burned through untold rolls of film in press photographers' cameras.

McCleese is on again. Electric atmosphere. People had been talking about Spirit as Rover that's like a teenage daughter or son, not going to sleep, staying up late. But last coupla days gone to sleep right on time. It looks like it'll be set back on path and be going again in teh next couple of weeks.

The joy of having a job like mine is something I wish you all could experience. Been interested in Mars since young. Working with excellent people, who are driven by what they want to do. Working on this rover mission is the highlight of their careers. I couldn't have imagined a better career when I was in school.

The other night, Pres Bush talked about a major new direction for NASA which includes sending humans to mars. One of controversial issues is whether you go and plant a flag..,. the idea that's won out is that the astronauts are likely to stay on surface of mars for the equivalent of two earth years. Travel is going to be touch, take 6 months to get there. Will be in spacesuits b/c it's too cold to get there. More like exploring the moon than explorers of old in jungles, etc. Will be setting up habitats, and people when they comehome will feel like martians

I think if you were here today, you'd be albe to see the joy on faces of those working on rover projects. We sent two rovers because we expectedonly 1 to work. The fact taht we've got two in dfferent sites--working--makes us as happy as can be.

Thanks very much Chuck (I didn't hear other half of this conversation/interview)

the one-sided conversation continues, about bedrocks. It's not a uniform "every place is the same" kind of planet.

We're not looking for life that exists on Mars today. we're looking at a habitate. we're trying to discover whetehr life might have begun on mars, back to 3 million (billion) years ago when Mars might have been like earth.

3 weeks ago we had what we thought was a perfect landing. But last night was even better. We had radio all teh way down, heard the bouncing. We even got a color panarama early. It was flawless.

[okay, going to leave this one sided conversation to go and get a copy of the local paper, see what made it to the front page] Be sure to check out also adot's notblog* for coverage of various NASA TV. heh. he got some detail from mine to correct his own; this is a cooperative transcription via weblog that we're both doing! :D ]

1/25/04; 3:11:27 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

Theisinger: Spirit upgraded from serious to guarded condition.

"Our truths are often temporary" Let me describe our temporary truths. We got flash data okay. Leading theory that the file management software problems. Two other theories: one some kind of error or hardware issue on the electronics boards that controls the motors. And there was a solar event on Wednesday and the timing of that is being to looked at for correlation. Flash memories are sensitive to ions wheen being written to or read from

We tried to keep the Spirit people away from Opportunity and were notoriously unsuccessful. people need rest.

Arthur Amatour. [something: Two rovers on Mars. Not enough to talk about local solar time, Spirit local solar tinme

[missed a bunch, sorry]

we got another 20 megabits of data from Opportunity. all nominal. mobility reported what looks like a good egress straight ahead. Deck height preliminary assessment 31 cm whcih looks good,. Pancam looks healthy. Thermal- temperatures had good agreement with model predicts. We received pancam and DIMES images. Fault protection reported no new faults. Tomorrow, Sol 2 will be assessment day. Looking forward to the Impact to Egress

Andrew Johnson: Both landers have camera onboard. As lander descends, the camera takes three pictures in order to determine the horizontal velocity. Shows first image, main feature is a crater. image is about 1 mile across; taken from 1.25 miles above the surface. Next image shows to descend toward surface (we expect that to happen). Toward the center of teh image is the location where we believe we touched down. THird image: final image is about 3/4 mile across. next to the crater to the left is a dark dot, the shadow of the parachute (some woahs in teh room). The velocity estaimated . It didn't cause the transverse rockest to fire.

Steve Squyres: These pictures are fantastic, too. enormous value to them. I keep thinking this can't possibly get any better. Go back to geological background. One thing: Thick sequence of layered rocks, we don't know what they are. Draped on top of that is a layer of some fine material. We think this is the hematite. My fondest hope was that we'd land close enough to a crater and we'd go there and see what's inside. We have scored a 300 million mikle hole in one and we landed inside a crater.

We talked about doing a trajectory control maneuver. One fo the lessons I have learned, Pete, is *never* ask for a final TCM. Bring up panorama image: The crater we are in is roughly 20 meters in diameter. We are looking at the rim of the crater. in teh distance you can see that wonderful rock outcrop. We have both of those geological aspects right here, within 10 meters. The light color rock layer outcropping. IN pirinciple we could spend most of the mission inside the crater for most of the mission. But we see from teh DIMES images, we are near a big crater.

Close up image of high res pancam of rocks. This is just a taste of what's to come. Sometime/today/tomorrow/soon.. on Sol 2 at Meridiani. we are giong to take a color 180 degree full resolutaion pancam of this outcrop. We'll see a slice through it, crater has exposed a stratographic section.

Large crater is 150 meters in diameter, it is surely within our reach. We drive off the lander, we look at soil. We investigate the outcropping. We look carefully . We climb out of the crater, take a look around, go for the big one [crater]

Doug Ming from NASA space center, minerology: Science team is absolutely thrilled to be here. If it got any better we couldn't stand it. We're here for hematite, spectrometer from orbiter indicates

shows the big red image: only a few percent of hematite to make this darker. What are hypotheses for this? multiple working hypotheses: of course, water is one of our key objectives. One: hematite mineral formed in acqueous environment. The iron hydrolyzes, it settles down to lake material, and then over period of time, a slight metamorphic process, forms hematite. THis might be a reason we'd see they platey..

2nd: analogue on Hawaii on top of volcano. water interact with basaltic glass mateirals. hydrated glass, byproduct is nanophase iron oxides. iron oxides we find is hematitie (surfacial weathering processes)

3Rd: oxidation of the mineral called magnatite in basalt. no water involved at all, jsut oxidation.

The payload we've put togehter has the ability to find out which. If we find the mineral gertite (?) the Mossbauer spectrometer would distinguish between..

Q: Which of these theories is most conducive to life?

A: Any hydro or water presence. If what we find out is that this is a high temperature of oxidation, that would not point to life

Q: elaborate more on why sscientists get so excited about bedrock?

A: the thing about bedrock si that you know where ti came from. Gusev: we knew going in that there'd be messed up stuff, geogical. lots of craters to throw up stuff,. Lots of processes mix it up. Lots of rocks but we don't know where they came from. It's going to be a tough puzzle to know where it came from.

The beauty of bedrock is that you know where it came from. Thisi s the neighborhood of rocks; we know where they came from. Knowing their origin removes a great number of uncertainties. Also, you got discrete layers. Older at bottom, newer at top, so you can determine releative ages. If you take a bunch of stuff (per Gusev) grind it up and disperse, you donl't know ages. But here you know.

Q: Dimes image dark in center and light at rim. what do you see in it?

A: What I see is layering that is exposed. Layer of

Layer we are in is 20 meters across, maybe a coupla meters deep. That other crater, 150 meters across, much deeper. seeing the exposure on teh walls, and then the lower stuff, down on teh floor, we may be looking atmaterial that's blown in from elsewhere.

Q: Steepness of angle, what can the rover do?

A: Angle getting out is going to be about 15-20 degrees.. Steve: no problem getting out

Q: re: Spirit: clarify hardware/software problem

A: Today the fact that it's a software problem only is gainging strength. the hardware-to-software problem is losing strength. Testbed: looking at logs: it'snot my module, it's your module..

Q: EDL... talk about luck but you've worked hard to build robust system. Do you think your system has robustness to go to more extreme sites.

A: Pete: I would still not give him Valis if he asked. Way too early to decide whether there are options [to go elsewhere]. The profile at gusev was challenging. Meridiani less wind challenges. We need to let people study, draw some conclusions

Q: Have any of you slept? Are you worried.. this mission has weeks to go.

A: We';ve gotten no sleep for the last 3 and a half years. Pete: 4 hours; 1 hour... Steve: once you get to Mars time and it was fine. What's hard is changing from Spirit to Opportunity. so sleeping in 2 and 3 hour snatches, Brings back graduate school days..

Q: A little minerology lesson, Doug Ming: what did you use, spell it, etc.

A: Acqueous environments: hydroxyl iron-osxy hydroxides; goethite (german) FEOOH is chemical formula.

Q: for Squyres: based on DIMES image... 20 meter crater. any idea where it came down?

A: We're working on that right now. The MOC image unambiguously showed where Spirit is. Knowing Mike, he's planning on targeting that image. ... Prolly in center of image. And figure out location where first bounce occurred.

Q: Outcropping.. do you see discrete layers? Do you see hematite in the scene?

A: we're not getting ready to answer your questions; getting ahead of ourselves here. the one pancam image, we're looking at the top of one of the layers. I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to how this stuff formed.

Doug Ming: re;hematite. The color is pretty unique. particle sizes too early to tell,whether fine grain or nanophase, ormore crystalline. We jsut have to wait until we get there.

Steve: the instruments that best workwith hematitie haven't been turned on yet.

Q: will you be abel to ascertain the toxicity of soil? Can we ever grow plants there?

A: When we get teh APSX there. good data for minor trace elements there. Right now what we know is that we can probably grow plants. Someof the salts are such that we might have some toxicity there.

Q: pictures "unlike anything we've seen on Mars" is that a function of landign in a crater?

A: Much more to it. We've landed in a geologic unti that's fundamentally different from waht we've seen on mars. We've never seen anything else on Mars. We know from orbit that this occurs only few places. We landed in it.

Q: What was different?

A: look at Viking, Pathfinder, Gusev. every place is littered with boulders. See any of that there? Here what we see is bedrock outcrop in this bizarred red gray soil. neither of which looks like anything we've seen on Mars.

Q: Mossbauer... use wheels to do amateur geology with wheels, streettest...

A: Hard to do, but could churn up to see what we can see.

Q: Origin of fine material in Gusev. Do you have any initial hypothesis?

A: Doug said that it is hematite bearing unit. Scientist has temporary truths, too...

Q: white parts on DIMES image. rims. Outcrops?

A: White parts are probalby bedrock. The bedrock appears to be lighter in tone than the .. a reasonable expectation verifiable in the future.

Q: timing of standup, egress, exploration

A: Expect a week or two. It'll be a few sols

Spirit egressed on Sol 12. Tho there was bag retraction. Here we don't have bags, but have Spirit lessons to learn. It'll be end of second week at best until egress.

Q: rough estimate on distance to big crater? OUtcrop, shapes of rocks

A: Assuming we came down at center of image, it'd be about a half a mile.

outcrop: we've seen so little of it yet. Layered, tabular, broken up into segments. pancam postcard 8 images wide. Barely nicked outcrop. We're not seeing a slice through it. We're getting steep faces where we're going to see slices through it. Steep: we get morphologic clues.

scale: don't know for sure, we'll get more clues when stereo image. Maybe 10 meters.

Q: Since rovers are twins, is same problem lurking in both...

A: Currently considered most probable: inherent software problem. inherent in both. need to work around the thing that broke it so we dont break it again; 2nd: hardware issue that manifested in software: that would be only Spirit (my guess today, temporary truth). Systemic: addressed by rules of the road, or by redoing software

Q: Solar event?

A: Ions, detected HEND instrument on Odyssey... hint of solar activity from other solar observers

Next news briefings: 9am tomorrow.

1/25/04; 2:09:27 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

We watched the 4:;20 pm press briefing with NASA Administrator Sean O'keefe yesterday. And Charles Elachi, and Ed Weiler Here's a report on it. Praise be to the LA Times reporter who opened up the Hubble question (it got to the point where he said, hey, this is all about Opportunity; we're talking Hubble) Ed Weiler, the Deputy Administrator for Science, used to the be the head of Hubble, so 'twas a good perspective. (One question addressed to him began thus: Dr Ed Weiler, past director of the Hubble Space Telescope, would you give us your perspective.... Weiler did go on to recount the successes of the mission and his support of the decision)

Anyway, O'Keefe went into his discussion for the rationale behind the decision. discussing all the risks involved.

Later, when it came to talking about the previously proposed space shuttle mission to bring the hubble back to earth, he said that the astronauts said that the risk was too high.

What O'Keefe didn't say, in his earlier discussion of the risks, was what astronauts said about the servicing mission. Scuttlebut is (this is from Doc M, my JPL-employee boyfriend who heard it somewhere) is that astronauts said they'd *volunteer* to go on a servicing mission. So when astronauts say they'd volunteer to go on the service mission, and O'Keefe does not mention that, but later states what astronauts say in their thumbs-down vote against a mission to bring Hubble back to earth, well... Doc M didn't take too kindly to O'Keefe's way of bringing astronauts into it *only* when it supported his decision.

1/25/04; 1:13:24 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

...but I haven't gone and taken the typos out. eek.

I've been going back and grabbing some of the press images from the Mars Rover site and plopping them into the previous posts/narratives (press coverage, etc.) at the point they were being discussed. Provides context for you. Will keep a lookout for the DIMES images, which will probably be available in the next half hour or so.

Be sure to check out Asa's site, too. He's watching and typing as am I. Ah! He points to the DIMES images, which are stretched horizontally. Gotta break out Photoshop.

1/25/04; 1:00:03 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

Watching NASA TV again. It's about time to receive data relayed from Odyssey (orbiting Mars). Showing the Ground Operations Room.

Voice: We're showing relay data coming down
Reply: Copy that, thank you.

more waiting. Narrator point out to two guys in mIssion Control, the UHF Data Analysist. The data from Odyssey we get is reliable, because there are handshakes between the rover and Odyssey (here's some data, okay I got that, send some more, all right, here's more. Got it, thanks).

Expected data: Engineering information on the rover Opportunity. The temperature there. External temperature is (didn't get number,but it's colllld). Yesterday the predicted temperature perfectly matched the actual temperature.

The control room isn't full, the advanced team has arrived (unclear, but I believe Opportunity is asleep, going to wake up), more to come as it nears the Mars Day Time at Meridiani (Opportunity's Landing site).

more waiting. IN the meantime, I happened upon a slashdot thread on the landing, and there was a post from one of the software engineers.

Voice: we are getting some DIMES images. DIMES, can you post that on the screen? Looking over shoulder of image analyst. Rocky outcropping, in higher res.

Narrator: You're seeing this at the same time that anyone else in the world is seeing it. Image is from pancam. just got posted on screen in the room, which broke out in whoops. Steve Squyres in front of room monitor, pointing to it..

UHF: We have 22.p megabits of data. Response: and a DIMES image, right?

One image kinda squashed, not much detail, looks like sky at top part of horizon.

DIMES image (dimes is the camera system during descent w/ parachute deployed; based on images the rover analyzes ground speed and decides whether to fire a rocket or not)

An image from above looking down on a crater. Seeing some adjustment onscreen for brightness and contrast to see more image detail. Huddle in front of screen, pointing and discussion. Can't make out what they're saying.

Odyssey went behind Mars before playing back all the data relayed. So far 1 DIMES image and another something in a coupla minutes, and then the rest of the data sent after Odyssey emerges from behind Mars in oh, about 30 minutes or so.

Status reports: Batteries are discharging at 3 amps, battery temperature 14 degrees C; solar arrays at -95. ... We did wake up for the MGS pass.

Flight this is Fault, I'm in the testbed, I can't see telemetry, I didn't see page from it, but I see that there are no new faults. Flight: copy that, I see your page here.

more waiting... for more data. so they're just showing the room. huddles of conversaton and some disembodied voices, softly telling a story.Then, Do you want me to talk softer? something about blow by blow..

Odyssey Ace (person monitoring Odyssey communications) reports that more data is coming down.

We show all the data from MER-B (Opprotunity) has been relayed to you. (so it's on its way). More people arriving at operations.

Okay team, we're going to stand by for a half an hour. Imaging, did we get any more DIMES?
Imaging: yes, I'm processing. [So more pix to see very soon.]

Flight, that's the third DIMES image.
Flight: We got the 1st, and 3rd image.
Imaging is pointing out where the shadow of the parachute is (just to left of crater) with cursor.

Current time: 12:27pm; News briefing is at 1pm.

Another DIMES image onscreen. so there are 3 total...

Flight: Imaging, just to confirm, we got everything?
Imaging: yes, yes we have
Flight: Copy that. Thank you, Odyssey.

Discussion in the room about MOC images (Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor), to match the DIMES images.

Recap: Rover woke up, transmitted a bunch of data. Pancam images, DIMES images, engineering data look good. NASA TV signed off until the 1 pm briefing. (I don't remember seeing pancam images, though, even tho narrator guest mentioned them)

1/25/04; 12:06:50 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

Charles Elachi, Pete Theisinger, Richard Cook, Matt Wallace, Steve Squyers, Larry Soderblom

Elachi: speechless

Pete: We done good. No problem with the critical deploys.

Richard Cook: We're all tired. I think we're in shell shock that everything's gone amazingly well. Those pictures blow me away. We've certainly not been in this place before. We've never openend from a side petal. The torque capactors to do that could probably lift up a car. ...

Matt Wallace: just yesterday...... (laughter) there was a good chance we could be fighting a war on two fronts. So tonight we have the best party in town, which is saying a lot for L.A. on a saturday night.

Thanks to cruise team: you did an outstanding job getting us here. (applause big applause). I want to say thanks to our swashbuckling EDL team. You guys do miracles. Thank you.

A couple of specifics: We did land on the +Y petal. Good in many ways. allows us to fully retract the airbags on the front of the lander. As you can see by that image. the forward path is clear. We are pitched up by about 5 degrees or so, because of the fact that we pulled back those airbags. We're rolled to the right about 1.something degrees. Something about heading, which has implications for where to deploy the high gain antenna. Fault was okay [no faults], something about tau, sorry. didn't get. Thermally, we're warm so good. predicted 32 degrees C, and we are at 32 degrees C. Good job, guys.

Steve Squyres: "I am flabbergasted. I am astonished. I am blown away. Opportunity has touched down in a bizarre, alien landscape." 3 weeks ago I said we hit the sweet spot. .. I always knew that if we went to enough places on mars, we'd see soemthing we've never seen before.

mer b little panorama:

Panorama: Hummocky along the skyline There is topography on local scale that is very interesting indeed. i will speculate and I may be proven wrong on this.. we might be in a crater. If we're in one, it's one we can easily get out of.

First bedrock outcrop we've ever seen.

high resolution: taken with navcams before we deployed the mast (PMA pancam mast assembly) fantastic rock outcropping dead ahead. It's gonna be a wonderful place to get to.

The slabby rock. we can do it volcanically. You can also make slabby rocks like that sedimentary.

Some of the soil. Strange looking stuff. I don't want to hazard a guess at it. Gusev/Magic carpet (called strangelooking) pales in comparison to this.

meridiani pebbly surface:

Some pebbles there.

These are the marks of the airbags being drawn in. it has taken a crenulated looking surface and smoothed it over.

These are airbag marks, and if you can look left of center, you can see the imprint of one of the seams. Wheel tracks in this is going to be very interesting.

To try to interpret what you're seeing now, wiht water or this... too early to tell. We've got pan cam and [names the instruments]. Right now I'm in awe.

A gift for you from Dr Jim Bell... in color, and another in color...

mer b pancam postcard:

Meridiani Planum!

Larry, what are we looking at?

Larry Soderblom: We hit martian pay dirt. This rates with several of the discoveries I've been personally been involved with. it rates with Viking, Volacanoes on Io, geysers on Tritan. [shakes steve squyres' hand]. We are very lucky. It's difficult to reconcile going to a place on Mars in a place that's safe to land.... it's like going to oklahoma and hoping for the grand canyon. We hit a scientific jackpot.

Q: like talcum powder

A: To be able to pick up imprint of bags. it's like talcum powder. We will be able to characterize it in amazing detail.

It looks like it's superfine at the top, but it doesn't compress very much. It may be layered in an interesting way.

It's the first outcropping we've ever seen on Mars. And we have the tools to go and find out about it.

Q: Why do you think you're in a crater?

A: The skyline.. that hummocky nature of the skyline. A face that's facing toward us. This is a wild guess based on a quick impression.

Q: could you hazard a wild guess how old that bedrock is?

A: Steve: No, not at all.

Larry: It's probably less than 4 and a half billion years (laughter)

Q: about how outcrops came to be

A: different methods of making outcropping, each which has its own signature features on macro level. we can take a look at that.

Q: Why is bedrock so exciting?

A: Steve: one thing that's critical... know where it came from. Little loose rocks, where did they come from? Ejecta tossed out of, flood channel that it got carried along by.... These rocks grew up right in this neighborhood. You can tie it to its surroundijhgs

Larry: goal of geology is to study history of time. We know the youngest things are on teh top, and older on the bottom. We have the pages of time and what was on those pages and what does it tell us aabout the pass.

Q: Do you see any signs of hematite in this first look?

A: Too early to tell. two instrumetns to tell that are MiniTES and Mossbauer, and they haven't even had their health checks.

Q: features at top... what is it, where did it come from?

A: could be wind. could be fossil dune. too early to tell.

Q: about finding things from above

A: we saw it done a couple of days ago. our navigation team will find our position, and then the Mars Global Surveyor will unambiguously find our position. This'll show up very clearly at this location.

Q: (hey; bill nye the science guy) any changes in plans due to software problem on Spirit?

A: It may add a little bit of time; we may go about one or two things differently as concerns the flash memory.

Next live coverage of Odyssey pass: 11:30 am; press briefing 1pm.

Q difference in science at two sites?

A: science is very different from gusev. Payloads, and equipment are the same. But science is very different, Plan of attack is going to be very different. go look at the soil and then bam! out to the outcropping. And though I have utmost respect for Larry, I think a week will not be enough. (Larry: fair enough; earlier, Larry said we could go spend a week at that outcropping.)

1/25/04; 2:17:53 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |

They've got those web people working on Mars time, too.

Images from the Nav cam (50!) and from the Panorama cam (23) images...

It's unlike anything we've seen before in previous Mars landings. Someone at Asa's site (in comments) wondered if we'd landed in a crater. We'll see, we shall see...)

1/25/04; 2:02:56 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |

NASA-TV is doing live coverage of the Odyssey overpass.. a communication session when the Odyssey orbiter has a pass overhead, it will pick up data. Earth has set. If Odyssey has received data, it'll pass it onto us between 10 and 20 minutes past the hour.

The advantage to using the orbiters with a relay pass is that it doesn't require as much power to transmit data, and so it can do so at a higher data rate.

Need to unfold the solar panels, and then takes pictures as the mast deploys. SHowing a testbed simulation of a side-petal down opening. The airbags deflate, and the petals open up. Next animation is the one we've seen tons of times before, the Dan Maas animation, with solar panels unfolding. Very important, so that the rover becomes "power positive"

[note: this use of name "Opportunity" is getting confusing, with so many opportunties to conduct science using the rover Opportunity, and so on and so for and opportunity knocks and all that]

Chris Lewicki (Flight Director): polling various people for readiness. "You are privileged to be on the most exciting room on earth... don't abuse it"

Someone's happy... a shout out. 45 buffer. applause. it does indicate completion of the critical deploy. The number of things we're looking at in this pass... are on page 12 and beyodn of the procedure. we got number 1, of 8 bits observed. The number of megabits is about 20 megabits (applause) of data on that pass.. at a data rate of 32 kilabits per second. (price is right competition among a coupla team members, a bet about the amount of data being sent back. "And what will she be taking home tonight?" Satisfaction of a job well done.. and some picture)

Flight: Looking for any new faults. there were no faults in the EDL.

Imaging, [this is] flight. How are your fingers doing? -Pretty good, they're limbered up; ready to go. -copy that.

Flight: Just to remind you... Images we take: front and rear hazcam, if PMA (mast?) a ring... our pancam calibration target, we take image around landing site around horizon, and looking down at decks of rover. If that we start into the pan cam postcard... minus X direction behind us. or the area that we rolled from...

Flight: thank you all for being so well behaved here.
-wait till we get the data. (some response from someone. is pictures; that's when the room'll go wild.)


we show [attitude information] consistent wtih +Y down.

Fault: EDL is no longer in control, earth is in control.

report on electricity: we can wake up on the sun... solar panels are deployed. and then some applause, lost of applause.

Flight imaging! Image!!!! left rear hazcam. and look at horizon... piling up one, another, another image.. a new spot on Mars!!!

a whole ton of images started appearing... look at outcrops. applause applause applause!!!

one thumbnail: View from Opportunity

-So much for this part of mars being flat! (some terrain) someone yess, "absolute flat surface!"

a partial circular panorama loking at the rover from the mast. sort of the looking down and all around panorama.

"Welcome to Meridiani. we hope you enjoy your stay!" Now we're seeing a close up on some fascinating rock formations. different from the first landing site.

Pancam images coming in... (expect a picture postcard)

woooh! looks like something curvyy. is it the rolling of bags or some other wild looking formations?

still another thumbnail: View from Opportunity

voice: We need to hear from our PI (principal investigator, i.e, Steve Squyres)

Squyres: I will attempt no analysis of this because it's nothing like what I 've ever seen in my life... as we expected -- holy smokes! [reaction to new picture] sorry, I am blown away by this. These are fantastic; I can't wait to get out there. i just wanna look. This is the sweetest spot I've ever seen. (applause; remember discussion about the sweet spot?)

You can actually see the seams of the airbag prints.

still another different thumbnail: View from Opportunity

Squyres: The slabbiness of this is intriguing. Volcanic rocks do that, so can sedimentary. I'd saythat slabby outcrop is a fairly attractive first traverse target, ya think? (applause, whistles)

another thumbnail: View from Opportunity

Flight: Just an announcement: That's all the data we're gonna get from Mars today; I hope people are happy with what we've got. (long, sustained applause)

We completed the pancam postcard..

Flight: We seem to have another rover on Mars, it would appear... (applause)

1/25/04; 12:59:21 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |