"A Snake Swallowing a Gopher"

Bridget Landry - April 18, 1997
Deputy Uplink Systems Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

    In virtually every project (costuming or scientific) that I have been involved in, the work doesn't come in a steady stream. There is a long period where there isn't much actual work being done, because you're waiting for people "upstream" from you to do their thing, or you haven't been able to define the questions you want to ask. And then, suddenly, something crystallizes and this HUGE amount of work surges through the pipeline. I refer to this as "a snake swallowing a gopher": it is an enormous a mount of data/work/whatever and it can almost be tracked visibly as the lump makes its way through the system.

This was one of those weeks.

We have a five-day test coming up next week, which will simulate the first five sols on Mars. On the basis of previous tests, there were a lot of changes to be made to the existing imaging sequences, and these had to be ready, not only for the test, but in time to be run through our testing system BEFORE the test. This made it an incredibly long week for many of us, but I feel good about the work we've done. I think we're well on our way to having at least the first few days fleshed out. There are always a few things that we want to tweak, but, in the main, I think we're in pretty good shape for our test.

And now I'm going home to sleep!


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