Monday May 25th 2009. Day 11.
Today has been a quiet day. As I work next weekend, today was a day off and much needed, because I was pretty tired from the weekend. After checking that there was no crisis that required me to drop everything and head off to the office, it was time to go off and collect the bicycle from the workshop. The machine is doing a fair number of kilometres and, with a lot of up and downhill sections and junctions, the brakes and tyres take a real beating. At least once a year the brake blocks need to be changed and several times a year they need adjusting. Last week I was riding almost without brakes by Friday and, with several places where the brakes are needed to slow rapidly from 40+ km/h to a stop, riding with ineffective brakes is just plain dangerous. The brake cables have been replaced, as have the brake blocks and the rear tyre, which was getting very worn. I love my job and have no intention of dying trying to get to it.
While resting and recovering, I have been keeping a very close eye on what is happening with Herschel and maintaining the Twitter page updated every time there was something worth reporting. People are ecstatic that things are going so well, but cautious knowing that things can go wrong quickly. We are still two and a half weeks from seeing the first star images and, until that happens, we can only say that the electronics appear to be fine and that the mechanisms work. Better to have got this far without any important issues, but no one is kidding themselves that we are out of the woods yet: there is still plenty of scope for unpleasant surprises.
Unofficial Herschel image of the day archive:
Frequent updates are provided during the day on the Herschel Twitter (ESAHerschel) here:
You can follow Herschel testing and observations in real time on the Twitter.