"Sounds good, Chief." The day has begun, and the members of the Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) nod their heads in agreement with the person sitting at the head of the table: the SOWG Chairperson, one of the most integral members of the science team and the field test. The SOWG Chair changes from day to day, and he or she has multiple responsibilities during that time. The SOWG Chair's main task is to conduct the four meetings every sol (eight meetings per day during the tests) in an organized and efficient fashion. At the beginning of each sol, the Chair records and announces who will do what for the sol and mentions the time schedule as well. He or she then asks that the rover health, resource predictions, and success in terms of mission criteria be noted. It is his or her task to call upon people to speak or ask questions, to assure that the discussion does not get out of hand, and stop people from all talking at once.
It is very important that the Chair maintain a general focus and give summaries and overviews when things are getting too detailed. In the SOWG meeting that occurs once per sol, the Chair keeps track of the priorities of each team for the upcoming sol. He or she also makes sure to discuss the risks involved in terms of error and contingency. It is crucial for the Chair to keep track of time and make sure the meetings begin and end when they are supposed to. The SOWG Chair is actually much like a coach, giving compliments and suggestions, encouraging interaction between teams, and summing meetings up with lessons learned during the process. The Chair must be organized, assertive, and respected. He or she has a big job to do and at the end of the day, if the tests went well, much of the credit goes not only to the scientists, engineers, and coordinators for their work, but to the SOWG Chair as well.