It looks like we are on Mars again! The snow that kept us around the MDRS campus for the last four days finally melted. Instead of a winter wonderland, the landscape is now reddish/brown for as far as the eye can see. (Except for the top of Olympus Mons aka Mt. Hunter in UT which is perpetually snowed in)
Today we woke up as a crew and had our normal breakfast of cereal (as well as: dehydrated fruit – Apples, Strawberries, and Blueberries mixed in powdered milk mix) and oatmeal. Along with coffee and Tang to wash it all down. Due to the weather over the last few days we scheduled our EVA in the afternoon, so the crew worked on projects, read, and fixed things around the HAB.
The Frenchmen’s research unit has had many electronic failures due to the cold, harsh environment, so we all got to play “Macgyver” in trying to fix the issues with the limited resources available here on Mars. Their HUD micro-controller blew, but was brought back to life after some soldering and TLC – good thing they brought extras for this exact reason. The batteries that power the unit have been losing their charge quicker than expected due to the cold, so some bubble wrap and aluminum foil were used to insulate. And finally, their battery charger stopped working due to the harsh climate, and it had to be replaced. Great lessons in always being ready to adapt in a foreign environment and using whatever you have you around to get the job done. The Frenchies finally prevailed!
After lunch and our daily space nap, Gwendal led Pierrick and Patrick to test their improvements in the muddy landscape using Deimos (Rover) and one of the ATVs. Success! Their equipment worked great, and communicated all the necessary data back to the HAB without issue. Hopefully tomorrow the terrain will have dried enough for them to take their full scientific suite including GPR(Ground Penetrating Radar), terminal, and controller. They have been itching to get out there and utilize their equipment, as we now only have three days left for scheduled EVAs (Wed, Thurs, Fri). I think we may do a chant to the weather gods tonight to increase their chances.
After the EVA was completed, the crew filled out our daily reports and scheduled tomorrow’s day. Hard to believe that tomorrow it will be ten sols since arriving on Mars. As the absolutely cliché saying goes – Time flies when you are having fun…Maybe too much fun? Never. We are killing it as a crew, and could for sure stay here for a little while longer if we needed/wanted to.
Dinner and CAPCOM are coming up and Pierrick is trying to translate his electronic Macgyvering skills into the kitchen by cooking a French specialty – CREPES! Let’s just say the crew is pumped to try. Now just what to put into these crepes: Nutella? Definitely. Honey? Absolutely. Peanut Butter? Yes, Yes, Yes. Or for me: all of the above! I can almost taste the fluffiness. I hope you can too back on Earth. Crew 172 signing off.