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Comment: I liked Mars time (Score 1) 135

by dradler (#49154241) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected
I was the MER Spirit Mission Manager, and I was on Mars time for three months in 2004. I adapted to it and liked it. I got to sleep in an extra 40 minutes a day. I had blackout curtains in my bedroom, so that I could sleep in the dark. However I was one of only a few who voted to stay on Mars time after the end of the primary mission. Most of the people on the operations team didn't like Mars time.

Comment: Re:90 days? (Score 1) 147

by dradler (#26317145) Attached to: NASA Mars Rovers Hit 5-Year Anniversary
Scott wrote:

I'm not saying we expected the rovers to drop dead at the stroke of midnight on sol 91, but even the wildest optimists on the project did not openly dare to hope that we'd even double that 90-sol lifetime.

Actually I was one of the wild optimists on the project, and before landing I predicted that (if they successfully landed and deployed, which was not a given), that they would survive up to solar conjunction in September 2004, or about eight months. More than double the warranty lifetime. I said "Opportunity might make it through conjunction a go a little longer, but I doubt it."

I recall that Jake Matijevic agreed with my calculation -- it was based on his "minimum watt-hours per sol" survival numbers at the time, which he has since improved on by a factor of two or more. But no one on the project predicted survival beyond conunction.

If someone told us five years, we would have laughed. "Impossible", we would have confidently replied ...

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