My office-mate was the Cognizant Engineer for the lift mechanism for MER and so was responsible for the actuator and associated hardware that stood Spirit up last night. Needless to say, he stayed at work late yesterday to be there when it was exercised and was still jubilant when he got to work this morning following the overnight success.
It's now moving into Sol 7 for Spirit and the media blitz has crested. As I left this afternoon, there was only one TV truck when there had been at least three up to then. One of the two rover models in the mall was gone, too. Assuming that Spirit is mobile next week, we'll have a little over a week of driving before Opportunity arrives, and I wonder how Opportunity's EDL will compare.
WIth the "rumors" of President Bush's decision to increase NASA's budget and return to the moon hitting the presses this morning, there was a lot of talk at JPL about how the rumored work would impact us. Crewed spaceflight is obviously not our forté, and since we do very little work for either the Space Station or the Space Shuttle, it's uncertain if JPL's workload would expand significantly. Our knowldge of the Martian environment, along with our interplanetary mission expertise, means that we'll be involved, though, and it would be exciting.