OFJ Field Journal from Marcia Segura - 11/10/95
NIMS IS ON AND THE TELEMETRY IS GOODWell, the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer was turned on Monday, November 6 as we get ready for Jupiter approach and the beginning of Galileo's main mission. The radio signals from the spacecraft, or "telemetry," indicate that NIMS is operating normally. At some point in the near future, the instrument will get new software to enable NIMS to work with the new spacecraft software. The instrument will remain on for the next 2 years, making observations of Jupiter, the rings, and the large satellites.
At this time, had things gone per the plan, we would be anxiously anticipating the return of data from Jupiter's moon Io - the best to date. But alas, it's not to be. As you've undoubtedly heard, Galileo's tape recorder has had some problems. The tape isn't broken; engineers are still analyzing exactly what's wrong. The project, in an effort to protect the tape recorder from damage, has decided not to collect remote sensing (imaging) data until after the probe data has been played back and the engineers have finished their work. Whatever the engineers find, I am sure that it will have an effect on the science observations planned throughout the mission.
It really hasn't been a very easy time for the science teams on Galileo. Losing the Io encounter and the Jupiter Probe Entry Site observations has been disappointing and frustrating for all involved. I'll attempt to describe the feelings in this way. Let's just say... You're going out on the town. You have tickets to your favorite play (they cost you an arm and leg) and you're going out for dinner at Spago's (Wolfgang Puck's ritzy restaurant here in Los Angeles). You splurge on a new dress for the occasion (the VISA bill comes next month). On the day of the big event, here's what happens.... no hot water when you shower, a run in your pantyhose, the waiter at Spago's tips your FULL wine glass into your lap, the valet attendant misplaces your car keys, you miss the opening act and the usher won't let you in until intermission!! As you can tell, the past three weeks haven't been fun... but enough about that!
This week marks the start of science planning for the ninth orbit, or "C9" as it's called. "C" stands for Callisto (another of Jupiter's satellites, and the one that Galileo passes the closest to) and 9 stands for ninth orbit. I'll be spending a lot of my time working as the lead NIMS coordinator for this orbit. (Each NIMS coordinator has assigned orbits and assigned targets; mine is Callisto) I'm responsible for making sure that all the NIMS observations planned for the C9 orbit are properly put into a sequence (computer program) which will tell the instrument and the spacecraft what to do. C9 will have 70 or so NIMS observations (Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are all included in that total). I'll be attending MANY meetings and negotiating with other science teams for observing time and other resources, since all the instruments want as much observing time as possible. We'll continue working on this until the end of January.
Meanwhile, I'm still involved with testing the new NIMS software. Many hours this week was used helping to analyze the results of our latest test. Bob Mehlman (one of our programmers - his office is at UCLA) and I spent some time discussing the test results. We had some questions that we couldn't answer ourselves, so we arranged to meet with Tal Brady (the ultimate expert on Command and Data Subsystem (CDS) software). As it turns out, we uncovered a "bug" in the code. The software group will fix it and then we'll test it again. Such is life on Galileo ....
Life outside of Galileo this week was filled with the normal everyday stuff. A football game for Matthew on Tuesday; they lost by a touchdown. The flu caught up with him on Wednesday (I had it last week). Parent-teacher conference on Thursday (it was planned and reports were good). Adrian called to give his new phone number (his room assignment at Emerson changed) and remind us to bring thermal underwear with us on our upcoming Boston visit. No, I didnMt go sky-diving, bungee jumping, or drag racing. Maybe next week....
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Weeks end. Marcia Segura "Online from Jupiter"