Sol Summary – January 18th

MDRS Sol Summary Report for Sol 3
“The beauty and hidden treachery of Mars”
Mission Status:
We’re overcoming the various challenges Mars is throwing at us and we’re still roaring with laughter. In summary: another fine day on Mars with Crew 173 – Team PRIMA.
Sol Activity Summary:
If there’s a lesson that we’ve learned today, it’s that most things work in a yin and yang kind of system on Mars. Each time we rejoiced that something got fixed/is working again, then something else came along and spoilt our joy. Our euphoria of having the toilet problems fixed got replaced by water pump leakage problems in previous days. Today, instead, aliens decided to steal some of our sources of power and gas. While the electricity was restored (under clearly some kind of peace treaty), the aliens are still entertaining themselves by cutting us off from our heat source. Currently, we’re huddling together to keep warm as the night is coming. In a similar way, my students’ spinach is growing extremely well under their experimental conditions, but Idriss, our crew engineer, is still trying his best to fix the 3D printer. That is not all, the beauty and hidden treachery of Mars is found in every element of our life here. Like it’s trying to trick us into thinking we can live here peacefully and then it hits us from a new unexpected direction. For instance, when we were about to exit the airlock, we got hypnotized by the beautiful landscape. We were so distracted by it, that we didn’t notice an alien come and open the hatch. Luckily, we were all suited up, so there were no casualties, but it was a close one… And then came the exploratory and thrilling EVA. Mars fooled us again. We left under the naïve illusion that the weather is great, the roads should be good and thus we should be able to drive these greater distances in good time. Ha. Little did we know what was ahead of us…(described below). Nevertheless, we showed Mars yet again that it can’t get rid of us that easily. We are here to stay and help colonize it in the future. Take that Mars!
Look Ahead Plan:
Apart our ambitious colonisation of Mars plans, we are planning on doing at least one EVA  tomorrow (weather permitting): one to go a bit of biological sampling in the surroundings of MDRS (ideally endoliths for myself) and another to retrieve the ATVs, which had to be left “sacrificed” today, so that we could return to our Hab safely before sunset. Activities in the Hab will include starting a couple of new experiments in the GreenHab, continuing with existing projects (for example Niamh’s artistic and outreach videos, my Slovak students’ project and 3D printing) and time-permitting attending to some of my projects in the Science Dome.
Anomalies in work:
The 3D printer stopped working and Idriss is still troubleshooting it. We are all also suffering from our helmets fogging up all the time, which makes driving on ATVs and walking on any kind of uneven terrain extremely difficult and even dangerous.
Today the weather was very delightful again: sunny and very warm. We are very grateful for that, as our adventurous EVA described below would have not been possible under any other conditions.
Crew Physical Status:
All crew members are doing fine. One of them is still recovering from a cold.
The original plan for the EVA was to go prospecting the carbonates in the Dakota sandstone and lower Mancos shale East of the Hab, all the way up to Skyline Rim (Northing : 4251500  Easting: 515000 Zone : 12 S) using ATVs there and back. However, the road called Copernicus highway ended up being in a very bad condition. It was worse than a rollercoaster ride. Even out of simulation I wouldn’t have wanted to drive on it. We were nevertheless on Mars and had to do as the Martians do, so we proceeded with great caution to get to our desired geological samples. With fogged up space helmets and heavy life support units, this ended up taking nearly three times as long as we initially anticipated. Thus, Roy and I had to improvise. The long story short is that we drove all the way to the cliff edges above MDRS, parked the ATVs there for the night and had to hike down to MDRS to make it back safely before sunset. This was also much trickier than anticipated, as the faulty helmets and general space gear made it quite a thrilling hike. We are tough earthling cookies, so we made it all right and showed Mars again who’s boss. We were actually very successful with retrieving some good carbonates and endolith samples during our exhilarating quest, so we had more than just a good story to tell at the end of the day 
Dr Michaela Musilová