Saturday, January 31, 2004  [!]
The Egress of Opportunity is covered in three posts, going from bottom to top:

Part 1 : Midnight - 2:30am Sending the Command, awaiting confirm beeps, Lunchtime Lecture
(Lunchtime lecture on the spectrometry capabilities of the pancams, which answers the question, why is the blue dot pink?)

Part 2 : 2:30 - 3:30 am. The Odyssey Pass, in which JPL receives all the telemetry and images confirming a successful egress.

Press Conference : 3:45am Pacific. Statements, Thanks, images, animation, champagne, HEMATITE, and Q and A.

. . . .

Astrobiology Magazine's Egress Coverage.. picks up some of the finer points I missed about the plan for the day (science, egress, science) and the news conference. Typos are edited, too. So if you don't want to wade through mine, read theirs (of course, they're not going to be making asides about NASA TV coverage or attempt to eavesdrop on mission scientists in the lull moments.)

More about those cameras: EE Times: Roving eye for Mars forces CCD rethink. All the engineering constraints that went into each of the rover cameras.

Backing up the Mars Rover Mission: Computerworld has the story. They also covered the OS running the rovers, VxWorks by Wind River Systems. (I got an email asking me for more info on computing resources on MER. I'm not *that* geeky; I suggest you start there and research further).

1/31/04; 5:50:36 PM | Space | Discuss | # | |

For report of Opportunity's Egress, scroll down, or click for Part 1, and Part 2

Opportunity rear hazcam egress:

Matt Wallace, Mission Manager

Joel Krajewski, Chief Engineer Impact to Egress

Kevin Burke, Lead Mechanical Engineer, Impace to Egress (the mouse-clicker)

Chris Lewicki: Flight Director

Chris Salvo: Also Flight Director

Dr. Phil Christenson, MiniTES scientist, Arizona State Univ.

Quick Statements and then Q & A

Matt Wallace: Rover woke up to Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run. This rover's been a blue-collar hard-working machine. Like the team that built her, she's now where she's supposed to be. I'm not eloquent enough nor do I have the time to htank the team. Team here at JPL. Other centers, Vendors. all should be proud for putting rover on Mars. This team has a young, rowdy set of engineers, you'll hear from some of them. Also some more mature engineers, some of whom were brought out of retirement in past missions. [names all previous missions] I wnat to say thank you to those people; if we are explorers, they are the pioneers. Also want to thank the wives, the husbands, the kids, the loved ones; nobody sacrificed more. You do not have to have a JPL badge to be a part of this mission

Moderator: This is gonna be like the academy awards (i.e, timed speeches, so hurry it up guys)

Joel: A week ago.. landed another rover. It couldn't get better. But maybe we're getting better at it (others in room said shhhhhhh! buncha scientist/engineers-- superstitious? say what?)

Kevin: Each time we talk about it, the first slide says "Goal: 6 wheels on soil." Shoulda revised them to say 12 wheels on soil. 2nd favorite image is of rear hazcam, wheel tracks, it goes a little to the right. because of the side lander petal, [some details] about pitchy. Wheel tracks show that we yawed about 7 degrees. We're about a meter away from the lander. Down a little ski slope and up a little bunny slope. Went down and then a little up. Nothing went wrong, it was a little smooth. With all the years and years of practice, we didn't dream it woulda been this easy.

Chris Lewicki: We drove Opportunity for the 1st time 10 months ago at Kennedy Space Center. Today we drove it today for the second time. Command started at (UTC times) 09.0057. 57 seconds later, Opportunity came to rest. Tilt: vehicle is 7.6 degrees more east than it was before. Beeps: Today was a 5 beep day; which is record setting. Telecommunications. We did bent-pipe communications with Odyssey. Our com team was literally watching the signal lock happen as it happened.

Chris Salvo: When Pathfinder was over in 1997, I had this feeling like, gee, was that the highlight of my career? No. it was not. This is better. It's been said how many people it takes to do this job. I'd like to thank my wife for all she's done. Next day after egress has some cleanup from Impact to Egress. Then we'll check out the science tools... scientists tell me they want to cruise the outcrop.

moderator: We'll show this Animation. Kevin Burke narrated: 3 meter straight drive... (anim stops early) that's right, it was a 3 meter drive, with the exception that we kept going, and veered to the right.

Dr. Christenson: I have a different story to tell. it sumarizes the work we've been doing for the last coupla days. Hematite, discovered by orbiting spectrometer from MGS. Did we really found it? The MiniTES HAS INDEED discovered hematite on surface of Mars

Applause from mission team.

(bottle of champagne comes out; someone sez "we'll drink it out of the bottle")

Being one that built the first spectrometer, I'm not surprised that we found hematite; the others might have been, but I'm not. (Doc M remembers it as: the others were surprised I was right)

MiniTES is a squiggly line instrument and we're proud of that. (slide being shown) measuring energy coming off the surface in the infrared, 10-20 microns, longer wavelength than what you can see [w/ the naked eye]. At right hand side of graph, deep, W-shaped feature, excellent signature of hematite. Matches with our lab spectrum. Other squiggles signifiy other materials; we're working hard to find out what that other stuff is. Where we found it.. in soil on top of the bedrock. On bounce marks: we looked at spectrum, see a beautiful signature of hematite on surface. Airbags altered surface enough, hematite not shown. It's on fine surfae material. Rover performed its first experiment even before it opened. Looked at white bedrock material for what its' made of. All I can tell you now) is what it's not made of. Not Quartz, not carbonate, not hematite. White marker bed'll be interesting to explore.

Moderator: showing images now. POP! Then pouring champers. Kevin Burke, again: Front hazcam. pristine looking soil if ever there was any. Little shiny bit is part of the instrument deployment device (IDD).

That is image rear navcam of post-egress... looks like it's no longer got a petal on the back, but it's the angle.

Fave shot: Rear Hazcam; the first image we got... the Money shot, if you will. Wheel tracks aren't running right down the ribs, but shifted to the right. Soil tracks look pretty distinct; our science brethren will come up with reason for that. We churned a little bit. We're glad to be seeing soil behind the back of our rover. Image: that's where we ended at the end of our animation.

Moderator: open it up for questions.

Q: Can you determine the source of hematite (i.e, water)?

A: Data we have so far matches low-temperature origin of hematite. On top of that we'll take Mossbauer and APSX to see traces of low-temperature precursor. If we can get traces of precursor mineral. spectrum matches best something that started in low-temperature environment.

Q: Opportunity do a tau measurement?

A: We can say that the measurement was performed, but we don't know what the result of it is. .. it's about .8, not too different from the Spirit site.

Q: Kevin, what was it like to be one click away to make it roll.,

A: In my wildest dreams, I never thought they'd let a mechanical engineer touch a computer in mission control. It was actually pretty darn neat. We've done it a billion--okay, not a billion--lotsa times in the test bed. It's a little different to hit that button and send that command millions of miles away and really commit [ourselves/the rover?]...

comment from Matt or Joel: "one small click...." (laughter)

Q: Why did this take less than 7 days (other than there was nothing blocking your path)?

A: Pretty much everything was nominal. We are getting practiced at it. We practice in cruise, but there'll always better at actual. Spirit was like my first drive in a parking lot when I was learning to drive at the age of 16. I told my parents, "I can do it, I can do it." Then I got behind the wheel and froze. This was like that. We went a little faster; almost got into 2nd gear. 3rd reason: better at doing things in parallel. When problems arise, we do a little triage on the side, was able to do that.. got the science to-do, but other than that, it was up to us. The flexibility to do things. A credit to our principal investigator: who gave us the trust...

Q: did you do less science on the lander?

A: Did less science, gave sci team a choice. Steve and his gang were ready to drive.

Q: for Phil: any 1st guess of the significance of seeing hematite in surface layer and not in the bounce marks.

A: I have lots of guesses, I'm sure they're all wrong, but I'll share them anyway (laugh). That's the beauty of exploration... Greatest fear was that we'd find hematite in the dust; hard to track down its origin. Great to see it in coarse-grained material, not fine dust. We can trace that material back to where it started, once we see it in place in its natural state, we'll have a much better clue as to where it came from.

Q: in relation to rest of stuff outside of crater?

A: View from above infers a layer on top. When we get outta crater, I expect we'll get into area that's rich with hematite. We might establish hematite presence in the white marker layer.

Q: In bounce marks, no hematite, where did the hematite go?

A: Lotta discussion about that. My fave theory: it's coarse grains, laying on top. Bounce pushed it beneath surface. I think they're still there... (Q: how far down would it have to be pushed for us not to see it?) 50 microns (waaaaaaaaaaay less than a millimeter)

Q: Low temp hematite: how does it form?

A: A way to form this materail. Precipitation from water.. It can form amorphous materials, ooze, form goethite. l Consistent with spectral signature we see. Other scenario, my student Tim G. is all over: Magnetite, volcanic material, which converts to hematite at high temp. This [what we saw here] matches the goerthite method rather than the other way around. Hope that a clue might come from mossbauer, which might trace remnants of goethite (or magnetite) to help.

Q: Engineering Ques. health of rover gen'ly good. Only thing we've heard about is the heater... what's long term consequence of that?

A: Long term impact is giong to depend on what happens in near term. Tryin' to understand root cause. As to concerns for safety, we concluded there are none. We want to get through first coupla weeks off of lander/on surface, maybe Sol 30 we reasses the failed heater switch. Coupla things we can try, if not (i.e, they don't work) we'll restrategize how to work it as mission goes on. We've thought of different ways to go already, but will have to wait till then to work the problem...

Q: For Phil: If initial sense from spectrum (low temp hematite) how does that fit in with possibility of volcanic mechanism w/o water.

A: Doesn't eliminate. Key comes from full context in which we find these minerals. We can, e.g., have volcanic ash deposition and weather that iron material down to iron oxide, ground water opportunities, hydrothermal opportunities [what's with dicussing this in terms of 'opportunities' 'specially as this is the Opportunity rover we're talking about? -ed], we're still a long way-- we measured similar from orbit. we've confirmed that it's there; know better where it is, but all possibilities are still open.

Q: So we can all be on one time frame, can we get an agreed time, when was command signal sent, when answer, when 6 wheels on ground

A: Ground 9:51:30 (UTC) ; confirmation received from Odyssey at 11:01; Egress command ... uh, we'll get that to you.

Moderator: next news briefing at Monday 9:00 am.

next NASA TV is gonna cover, from Houston, the dockup at International Space Station. (they sent up a supply rocket recently). and no, I'm not going to be covering that.

Okay, kiddos, I'll look for the most egregious typos and then I'm off (finallY) to bed.

1/31/04; 4:12:50 AM | Space | Discuss (2 responses) | # | |

Started a new post... scroll down or click for Part 1.

2:35 am...

Gaye Yee Hill (GYH) and Jim Erickson (Opportunity Misson Manager) are our hosts on NASA TV... now Erickson is playing with a rover model, explaining the three antennae, high gain (lollypop), low gain and UHF (which talks to our orbiting assets)

GYH: What are "orbiting assets," Jim?

Orbiting Assets: the two spacecraft orbiting around Mars; Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) --it's the one with two solar panels extending like wings, and Odyssey a single, central solar wing), which went to Mars for their own science missions, and have communications abilities. So their placement in orbit also was taken into consideration for landing sites, so that the orbiters could provide coverage.

Instruments on orbiters: TES is thermal emission spectrometer, looks at infrared, and THEMIS also looks at infrared, the MOC Mars Orbit Camera shows visible light and some infrared. MOC, being high resolution images, aren't wide. Instead we get narrow ribbons of image.

2:25 am: Flight (Chris Lewicki) announced that Odyssey pass is going to happen in 29 minutes (a little earlier than expected)

Erickson discusses the post-egress roll plan: head toward bedrock, then up outta that little crater...

Now an image of the crater, from a contour map with XYZ (3D data). showing crater, where the lander and rover is. Camera has closeup shot of image window on someone's 'puter with the contour map. Lotsa grays. yahadtabe there.

GYH and Erickson have lapsed into silence. Hubbub in background. Camera pans around. Doing a bottled drinks check: Arrowhead bottled water. now is on a group looking at contour map and having discussion. Camera cathes different group of people. At desks. waiting. not a scintillating view, so camera pulls back. Still not scintillating. Ah, another water bottle, barely visible. Can't detect what brand. A discussion of motion sickness.. someone talking about playing network quake at some company he worked at, and that they'd play . Now camera zooms in on some woman, who looks back, sees herself on camera, and bursts out in a small giggle.

GYH and Jim Erickson come back to talk about test bed simulation and show the same video we saw before. New info, though: The scariest part is when the front wheel goes down.

Flight Imaging. Go ahead imaging. Imaging: Going to put the rover on that contour map...

All stations, this is flight.. 14 minutes out. Scheduling note, when we find that we have successfully egressed, we are going to move the show up to 620 prior to the press conference. We'll be moving up there shortly after the receipt of the pass.

(Jim Erickson interpretation: they'll be adjourning to another room in the building, discussing it, and whether it was a success or not)

Post-egress press conference will be at 4am. (oof!)

hubbub. Camera pans. Bottled soda. Coke. Blue aqua fina. ah, the press photographers are starting to show up with those big ol cameras. Cameras among the Mission Control crew, too... really dig that little cheese thing at the back of the divider wall at desk of the Mechanisms A person. Flight: We're approx 5 minutes out from post-egress pass... Just spotted Pete Theisinger, MER Mission Director.

2:52; GYH does intro, we're 3 minutes away from hearing from Odyssey... (just woke Doc M from his nap) They're saying that the data, when it comes in, will be in a big quick flood. Camera looks over left shoulder of Imaging. We're watching him type, ladies and gentlemen and it's historic, it's exciting. The suspense is killing us.

Jennifer Trosper just walked in, and some applause (she's on a 12-hours' difference body clock, with the Spirit mission.

Correction, maybe. I thought imaging was Jim Bell. Doc M sez that it's Jason someone or other; I'll look it up. Nope. Justin. Imaging guy is named Justin.

It's standing room only (crowded) in the back. Now video cameras are wandering in the aisles of Mission Control.

2:59 and the camera pans around the room,. Waiting. Now a close up on Justin's hands at the keyboard. Wait a second. There's an image.

Telcom, flight. Do share. (we are at beginning of track, trying to get lock up) Room quiets down. Telcom: We got three out of 4 locks at the moment. This is not unusual.

Flight: Tell us how low of an elevation of pass it was.

Telcom: It was pretty low.. it'll move up. Ah, there goes that lock.

Data is flowing!!! Full lock, all 4 channels. (small applause)

Flight, this is fault: ALl green no errors. More applause.

Mechanical: We got something. Indications we are on Mars.

ACS: shows we are pitched nose up at 6.8 degrees (woo-hoos and applause) I also show a delta yaw of...

Flight, imaging: rear hazcam. Applause!!! Thumbnail...

Flight: 2 for 2. One dozen wheels on soil

Imaging: here's the full frame., applause!!! (It's beeeeeeyoootiful! oh, look at those tracks!!!! saweet!!!!!)

shouts of "encore! encore!"

energy (power): down 2 amp hours... very close to expected. Copy that.

FLight, mechanisms: things look good. Rover behaved very well. Mister Vorhees is very very happy. Copy that. Applause.

Flight: that's the view out the front window.

Flight, software... we are deep into the science... systems have reported that [nubmer] is the only one that didn't execute. (so a coupla iamges aren't aboard this data transfer)

Imaging: There's our navcam pan, I'll rotate it so you can see it (that overview of lander, and location of rover.) Flight: Overview of Challenger Memorial Station.

Flight: All I need at this point is status of when the command was dispatched..

Looks like Astrobot survived the trip (the Planetary Society legobot). IN background, Charles Elachi and his wife, Matt Gollumbeck (Pathfinder guy) ... people clustering around screens to look at images. looking at lander we just left...

Jim Erickson: It was a pretty easy egress. Probably the hardest drive that Opportunity will have to make. But in the test bed, there are people there spotting the rover if it tips. But on Mars, the rover's all on its own.

They're gonna go to room 650 for the flight team. Jim Erickson says "I'll be signing off"

Hugs and congratulations. as they all wander out to the meeting elsewhere.

it's 3:14 and yikes, another 45 minutes till the press conference. Time to sit back and consider the significane of it all. TWELVE WHEELS IN THE DIRT!!!

Jim Erickson: Tomorrow, we'll be recharging our batteries and doing cleanup from what we did today.

I'll be back at 4 for press conference. will not blog nasa tv still screen announcing stuff. Oh, they said it's going to be happening at 3:45, not at 4. So, uh, don't go away, folks! ; )

And now, on to the Press Conference!

1/31/04; 2:36:41 AM | Space | Discuss | # | |

[this first part egress will be in this same post; earlier at top, later at bottom. Second half is above, or here

Sol 7... I'm sitting here in front of NASA TV. Commentary is due to begin at midnight....

and welcome to the control room. I'm sitting here in front of my computer, looking at the control room with everyone sitting in front of their computers and all. Everyone is working. 12:30 in afternoon on Meridiani Planum.

Narrator sounds like Jim Erickson, Opportunity's Mission Manager, with Gay Yee Hill (nasatv). Chris Lewicki is the flight director (Flight).

Earlier today they did an egress bump, a movement 10 cm, to ensure all is well with vehicle before they commit to actual egress. Opportunity will be heading straight forward.

Flight will conduct a poll to see that all is ready for egress.

Yay for Erickson; he's holding a small model of lander and explaining stuff, but he pauses for telecom (what they're calling voca) from one of the team members to Flight, rather than talking over that chatter. Kudos to him; this way we can follow both threads.

Erickson: we've received all the telemetry to verify vehicle's status and position. Make sure all is well before committing (this will be the poll). Then once all have checked their telemetry, Flight will ask each person/subsystem to report that status is go before committing to egress.

Explanation of each subsystem:

Telecom, which is responsible for command transmissions to spacecraft and reception from. Makes sure all links between mission control and spacecraft are healthy.

Fault: Vehicle is protecting itself from any inadvertant mistakes made by crew.

Activity. Joel T... Describes what's going to take place.. commands and the things to take place and what block names (first we'll do this, then that. I guess that's why he's activity dude). It's too complex for me to follow and type.

Do the go for egress activate, first an hours' worth of science, then egress, then more science (cameras), and will be verifying all of it in the Odyssey pass (which, presumably will be happening later on)

12:19a Poll begins. All systems are GO for egress...

Erickson: Command is acutally issued at discretion of activity lead/flight.

Someone (imaging?) said, I'm gonna go to the testbed and verify something really quick (laughter in mission control).

ACE - term refers to mission controller; making sure all commands get up through Deep Space Network (DSN). Flight director works through ACE. ACE is the one who sends the actual command.

12:24: Flight: ready to commence activities. The honor for pushing the button is bestowed upon our something mechanical person. Please come forward. (someone named Kevin walks forward, rubs hands together). He's given a headset. Person assisting him: command is in the queue. Now Kevin has the mouse (the mouseclick to execute the command): Flight: the most significant three minute drive in the last three weeks.

Kevin: Copy that. 3, 2, 1, Mark!

The command's away. 12:26. Applause. [Doc M: I know that guy--Kevin; he's in the bike club] This signal will take 12 and a half minutes to reach Mars. It's that ol' speed of light thing.

Erickson: background info on kevin, the mouse-clicker dude; he did something mechanical to ensure that everything's going to go okay with egress.

It'll be 25 minutes (12.5 there and 12.5 back) until the beep arrives back *from* Opportunity to say that it received the command.

Erickson is continuing his description of who does what and what those functions are...

He introduced Imaging (Jim Bell, I believe).

Chris Voorhees-- another mechanical systems guys. Today's when you'll see more mechanical people in the room. A) just to be here; b) each has specialty area, so if needed, they'll be ready to troubleshoot.

Someone in Mission Control asked what the expected power would be at end of egress... Erickson explains to us that Egress is very power intensive activity, so the day after egress has lower activity just so as to recharge batteries. The time for egress is noonish/early afternoon so that there's plenty of solar power, and sufficient time in case they need to delay any of the activities.

and so... we wait. mebbe snack time here at blog/watch. ; )

More background from Gay Yee Hill.. Today's Sol 7. Wake up call from 8:45 Mars time is replayed: Born to Run (they're replaying tape from this morning. This is the first that I've heard anything about wake up songs being played for Opportunity.)

We do the wake up call.. wait for it to wake it up. Can either command it to wake up at a certain time, or tell it "whenever you feel like you've got enough power, i.e, with a certain level from the solar panels." 8:45 is a bit early for Opportunity; usual wake up time is around 10.

12:55 Carrier detected, carrier lock.

Flight: We've got our beep. Egress mega-wrapper is active...we'll be egressing this afternoon.

Lunchtime Lecture is about to begin.. Jason Soderblum (from Cornell) about the Pancam color and spectra (cool!). Is part of father n son team, son of Larry Soderblum, who is from USGS.

Someone: Flight, we have LOS.. (loss of signal.) FLight:time for next beep.. will be 10 oclock at 25 seconds (tho 10'o'clock in relation to what, I haven't the foggiest)

Lunchtime Lecture: We can actually do spectroscopy in pan cam. We're used to seeing hi-res images through these cameras... lotsa detailed images, etc. particle sizes in soil.

But another source of science from pancam is spectroscopy. We have a suite of filters. two overlap in each eye, so we can do stereo. (Has charts and stuff) Talks about sensitivity and how it compares to what human eye can see. too technical to comprehend, much less transcribe. These things are very narrow, sensitive in narrow regions of wavelength in visible to near-infrared.

One thing that's been boucned around (on slashdot) why is our blue chip pink? Different versions. Theyh're minerals. in bottom left is hematite, cobalt in lower right, gertite (green) back left, and ..

Why is cobalt one look pink? Shows graph showing sensitivity of human eye to different wavelengths - red green blue. When we use L4, L5, L6 filters, we represent approx true color image.

But in bottom image, L2, L? So have put filter that's sensitive to infrared. (that's the one that's pink in calibration target lower right). High visibility for blue visible, flat for red, but for infrared, the graph pops up again.. so the blue colored chip.. gets lots of information in the red channel, so it becomes vibrant pink.

Samething with green color, high infrared, plus yellow, so it becomes orange.. The blue pigment in the nasa meatball looks orange, or red.

Why use these filters? He explains that the spectra for differnt minerals... with high amount of variability at different wavelengths. So try to characterize how much minerals are present.

Bottom plot is hematite... which starts flat but jumps up as graph moves right. Goethite generally follows it. So they're looking for subtle differences between the two, in order to constrain what we're seeing...

So pictures of the lilypads. (airbag marks on surface). when we bounce on it, we brighten it up. the spectral signature... the reason disturbed soil appears more red is that it's not as bright in the blue.

The main reason we came to mars is this (shows image of the outcrop). So cool, so much info in a single frame. Look at plain in the distance. a sheen-- a photometric effect (cf. road in distance, the 'mirage' one).

So they're extracting different spectra from distance part and closer up material. peaks at different places.

L4, L5, L6 (roughly true color).. rocks almost has red wine stain to it. (lo, his laser pointer jumps from one to another rock. cannot translate. sorry) Pick up differences in rock. That little dark part of a rock. There's a possibility that it might be gray hematite. This is why we're sending multiple instruments. (400-1000 nanometers, the area that is measured by pancams). To miniTES, it'll immediately pick up slight differences very strongly.... and it'll detect hematite right away.

Other interesting thing. red spectrum pulled off of red stained part of rock. points at spectrum-graph. I fear that this'll all read as gibberish. Shall I start gibbering now? lkjwr[oiukjhadfjhdsf well, anyway, what he said

Now a last scene, from Spirit-- magic carpet region.. picking up subtle differences in this image. different spectrum points in image, with corresponding graphs. Main point. It's pretty subtle. But, for the trained eye (I'm not even paraphrasing here, but summarizing), it's distinguishable. and therefore worth studying.

He's doing Q & A, now.

Jim Bell: The lander cam. when taking stereo imaging, using L2 and R2, and L 4, 5, 6. He's describing a messup with L2, 5, 6 (shoulda been 4,5,6).

back to Jason Soderblum... (all of a sudden, I'm starting to get what spectroscopy is). end of lecture. Go egress.

So, for the layperson. It's a photography using filters that isolate different parts of the visual spectrum. Use that with known spectroscopic signatures of different minerals in order to "see" what minerals are present. Damn. I feel so enlightened. In a spectral sort of way. I don't know if this can be translated without seeing these graphs. Which sure as heck don't translate in mere ascii.

Now we're getting Gay Yee Hill and Jim Erickson.. talking about the sequence of beeps we're getting. First (received alreayd, from what I can tell) that says "signal received" and then subsequent beeps that tell status, that is, "I did this" ... and antoehr beep "I did that" and then, to cap it all off... there'll be that UHF high-data rate transmission from Opportunity to Odyssey (orbiter), with all the gory (or gorgeous) details.. then Odyssey sends it on back to us... I think that's the 3am time thing they talked about.

1:29. Someone, to flight: Didn't report it earlier, but we broke an internal [acronym here; PRT, which Doc M says is a resistor, which is something in the power system] on the [lost that]. HOping Erickson translates it for us, if it's newsworthy.

queries back and forth between Flight and ....

Flight, Systems. I have the EDR, 204 30 0h-

Erickson: they're discussing the failure of a platinum resistor thermistor (temp. sensor) it was one they'd expected to fail on Mars soon after landing. So they didn't know exactly when it would fail.

Thermistors are hard to bond down to surface of spacecraft.. this one was a difficult one to bond down (they'd replaced a couple others but left this one be, so expected it to fail). No impact on egress; totally unrelated.

[I see that Asa's also blogging this; hee! he says I'm kicking his butt. Asa, I installed a set of typing macros on Doc M's computer that I'm using, mostly it fixes the most egregious (and oft-recurring) typos. Heh. It's only when yer trying to get all this stuff down that you can appreciate the work of another who's doing the same. We've often tipped the hat to one another's transcription efforts. :D

more pausing and background discussion. Sound is picking up crackly sound. Are those potato chips? laughter and murmur-ey talking among colleagues. no thrilling stories, that I can tell "so they, after that, he said... " "no! really? Yer kidding!!!" "Oh, I know, and then, after that, he-- you would NOT believe it!" "No way!" Okay, none of that. I'm making it up. Geez, these poor overworked, time-dragged people. to have microphones on in the workplace, and unsuspecting people watching from all over, listening in on their workday conversation. But I did want to know if that crackly stuff was a bag of chips, and what flavor. I'm nosy that way. (Drink survey, very rough: water, Coke regular and Diet Coke, in plastic bottles. Oh and mugs, as in coffee mugs, I guess).

Now we got Gay Yee Hill and Jim Erickson talking through video of est bed egress from testbed. wheels moving down egress aid (fabric down on the side of lander). It's going smooth, he says (grammarian in me says smoothLY, dude. but I digress). it goes forward, onto the red dirt of testbed mars yard. big crowd in background. that was late last night, when making decision whether to egress today. (late night when? by what reference point? heck if I know)

Now they're looking at the hand-held model (which does not have fabric batwings)

Background noise: laughter. "Now that's a very good story" (damn, missed it!)

Ace, Flight: somethign something that I lost. Okay, got it now. Nominally we're expecting around oh-nine-fifty six.. so go ahead and start listening now. It should be 5 minutes long.

we hope now that Erickson will interpret that fascinating prose for those of us watching at home...

GYH: What are we listening for now, Jim? We're waiting for the beep that says that it's about to roll off the lander. Just a beep (don't spend much power on it, just check in and beep and then check out again) Beep signifies:Rover is about to do it, about ready to roll off the lander. should hear it in about 3 minutes.

Am I hearing music in the background, softly playing? cant' tell.

Now we are approching 2am, I expect that sometime the server'll that this site is hosted on will go down for a reboot. seems a good time to do that for servers, after all NO ONE is up at 2am on a friday night/saturday morning, well unless you're on Meridiani early afternoon Mars time, perhaps, eh?

fascinating background quip: "You could die in that" (okay, I'm sure you could)

Flight, ace. we have beep detection. Copy that. Applause. Becasue of light time, the vehicle should be on the surface at this time

Background quip: But I want to know now.

Music: sounds like The Who, from Who's Next. I'm goin home and when I'm going home, I'm goin' mobile. Keep me movin.

1:57, Weblogger is rebooting the servers. Manila is that way, I guess. we'll resume updating once the server lets us.

GYH makes some comment about how this is a "musically inclined group" and the camera pans on someone playing drums on his jeans with a pencil. He stops. Prolly figured out that he was on TV. Why is it that they want to prove or make a big thing outta geek engineers who like rock n roll music, as if that's, like, newsworthy or something?

end of song. applause. Flight Deejay: and that was "goin' mobile" by The Who.

Flight: next event is the odyssey pass about an hour and 20 minutes out from now. 11:20 UTC (okay, now I know what the 10 oclock reference was. GMT/UTC).

It's on the surface... no longer tied to what we brought with us from earth. 3:20 pacific time is the Odyssey pass. current time is 2:01. Now what is NASA TV gonna do for the next hour and some? If they cover Mission Control, I hope I catch a choice bit of embarrassing gossip. (I do not aspire to be the Wonkette of MER, tho)

Flight (Chris Lewicki) is using a 15" TiBook (or AlBook). Awwwright, Dude! It's standard issue JPL computer (um, I mean, among one of the computers that their MIS issues to them that requests it and whose higher ups approve it). There's one of those next to me, too, with a JPL inventory sticker upon it.

Camera shows a crowd of people strolling in for the big data drop. Steve Squyres (how's your office door?) wanders in.. room's starting to get a little crowded. Camera close shot of stuffed animal near someone's monitor. aw, cayuute. (talk, laughter. I'll hear someone talking and then, after a bit, the voice level drops, as if someone comes by and gestures, "shh! yer on TV!" No, I don't see it, I just imagine it. Geez, these guys and gals kill themselves for 3.5 years, reaching this point. So much so that they nicknamed the rovers "weekend" and "holiday" and at the end of it all, on this most histric of occasions, they gotta keep an eye on the NASA TV monitor to ensure that they're not caught picking noses or otherwise embarrassing selves while awaiting the communications window telling all that Opportunity has left the lander.)

Continue to Egress, Part 2.

1/31/04; 12:12:06 AM | Space | Discuss (2 responses) | # | |