Friday, October 28, 2005

First telecons

Today I listened in on the science planning telecons for both Spirit and Opportunity. There's a lot I don't understand yet, but the gist is that engineers and science team members get together every day, review the data that was successfully downloaded the previous day or overnight, get updated on the rover and instrument health, and decide what commands to uplink to the spacecraft to have it continue its long-term science goals. It's a surprisingly collegial process, where (at least today ) everyone got what they needed and what they wanted in terms of observations, driving distance, etc. There's some special software that allows everyone to see the same presentations and the command sequencing, as well as videocameras to the JPL planning room, because most of the scientists partipate from their home institutions rather than living at JPL.

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