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The Martian Chronicles

Sols 2504-2505: Packing up for our journey behind the Sun

23 Aug 2019, 00:00 UTC
Sols 2504-2505: Packing up for our journey behind the Sun
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The days leading up to a big trip can be hectic. There are preparations to be made, belongings to be packed, extra work to do in anticipation of being away from the computer. And it’s no different for a robot on the surface of Mars. With solar conjunction quickly approaching, the team is focused on getting the rover prepared for its journey behind the sun, during which time all communications between Earth and the rover will cease. Today the team was faced with the interesting challenge of having to fit all the activities that needed to be completed before conjunction in the limited time available before the rover had to start ‘packing up’ its instruments for the two-week hiatus. When planning began, the science team was informed that we would not be allowed to use Mastcam or ChemCam after the first sol, in order to get those instruments turned off and into a safe position before solar conjunction began. This placed a constraint on what activities could be included in the plan and when they could be included; a plan that originally included three science blocks spread over two sols quickly shrank into one massive science block on the first ...

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