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Historic day on Mars...


July 30, 2008 -
Sol 64 was an extremely exciting day for the Cleveland, TX, team! What we expected to be only a slightly more than average day turned into a historic day. While we continued with our set task of converting data sets into graphs and compiling them into a database, exciting things began to happen around us. As the data began to come down, we were excited to learn that soil had successfully been delivered to TEGA and the dirt sample that had been delivered to TEGA actually contained water ice! So at last we have definitive proof of water on Mars!  To top it off, in the ensuing celebration and revelry over the discovery of water, we narrowly avoided being struck by a flying champagne cork. It was definitely a celebration!

The other two groups were excited about TEGA, too, but were more focused on their own work, which contributed to a very long day. The Pomona, CA, was labeling the wake and sleep requests for the spacecraft. Each campaign was assigned a different color and different times depending on nighttime or daytime. It is more work to coordinate observations during nighttime because you need to tell the Lander when to wake up and when to go to sleep to carry out the requests. We used the observations from the PSI, the mission planning software, that has hundreds of observations. If you don't look carefully it is really easy to make a mistake, so we were very focused on paying attention all day, which wore us out by the end. We don't think we've worked that hard in our lives!  The Mountain View, CA, team also kept busy with their RAC image analyses and planning for a new "tour of the lander" podcast. Stay tuned for more on that...

To top it all off, we helped with three public tours of the Science Operations Center. It was fun to talk with people and explain what we've been doing.  All-in-all it was a busy, fulfilling day!

Off to dinner...

Your friendly neighborhood PSIP teams from Cleveland High School (Cleveland, TX), Mountain View High School (Mountain View, CA) and Village Academy High School (Pomona, CA)

Nick, from the Cleveland, TX team, helping a Science Operations Center visitor paint with a robotic arm.