MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

Crew Photos – February 5th

EVA site inspection by Mamatha Maheshwarappa
Sol 07 Team Briefing (before and after)
Sol 07 Mamatha Maheshwarappa Arpan Vasanth and Sneha Velayudhan after successful EVA
Sneha Velayudhan collecting soil samples
Sneha Velayudhan and Mamatha Maheshwarappa heading towards EVA site
Martians returning to the hab
MDRS site
Drone searching our lost Martian

Daily Summary – February 5th

Sol Summary
Sol: 07
Earth Date: 02.05.2017
Written by: Sneha Velayudhan (Crew Biologist)
Each day on Mars for the crew comes in with its own set of tasks, excitement and responsibility. Apart from our tasks on research activity we also have to make sure that the support systems for the hab are also in proper working condition. The day is carefully planned with team briefings early morning ;( The day started at 0700 hrs with briefing of the planned activities for the day. My day’s first task was to water the plants followed by a planned EVA. It was a fun day for the ladies in the crew as they were out for an EVA. The biggest question of the day was that the master chefs (Mamatha and myself) will be away and it had to be decided who will prepare the lunch?? !!! Saroj, our Scientist reluctantly took up the responsibility due to his lack of experience in cooking.
Today’s EVA was planned to be performed by Mamatha, Arpan and myself. The EVA preparation started at 1000 hrs, the first task was to pump water, dispose trash and perform regular checks for healthy operations of the Hab. The team left for one of the most exciting EVAs with the task to perform drone experiment and soil sample collection. We had to drive more than a mile from the hab as there is an airport nearby! The drones have the tendency to create excitement among all age groups, this task was challenging as we were in sim mode and that made the pre-flight checks and navigation trickier. Mars has unfriendly terrain that makes EVAs risky, the idea here was to use drone to get a glimpse of the actual terrain of the planned EVA site ahead. The mission was quite successful as the crew could sense the rough terrain that was not supporting the soil sample collection task and avoided the same for a new location! More such operations will be carried out in the coming week’s EVAs and the results will be summarised during the end of the mission!
During our EVA, Saroj and Arun spent 2.5 hours preparing ‘dal fry’ (Lentils curry) and mixed vegetable curry. This is not an exaggeration but the fact!! Each ingredient added to the curry was rigorously tested by Scientist’s taste buds. Surprisingly the lunch turned out to be tasty and the hard work was much appreciated by others. The tired crew took a short afternoon nap. In the evening, Arpan vacuumed the living space while Saroj made Chai. Rest of the evening was spent preparing documents and planning for the next day’s activities.
Thanks,
Mamatha

Commander’s Report – February 5th

Commander‘s Report
Prepared by: Mamatha Maheshwarappa
Sol: 07
Earth Date: 02.05.2017
“Challenges are what make life interesting, overcoming them is what makes it meaningful”
Firstly, I would like raise a toast to Team Planeteers for having completed the first half of the mission very successfully. Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) has become our home and we are now a family sharing our happiness, frustrations, knowledge, memories and experiences in this journey. Our regular day is a mixture of work and fun as it is essential to keep up the team spirit and motivation – we concentrate on technical work when the day is too young and then move towards documentation in the afternoon followed by a relaxed evening where we watch movies, share humorous incidents and celebrations. The most memorable part that I would like treasure forever is my birthday celebration here at MDRS. The team had planned ahead and got together to make my day so special even on Mars –  I would like to applaud their effort for preparing cake in the midnight by Master Chef Sneha Velayudhan and Arpan Vasanth and decorating the Hab with balloons by Saroj Kumar and Sai Arun Dharmik, thank you once again guys!!!

Another unique and the most exciting activity at MDRS is to gear up in a spacesuit as the atmosphere on Mars is harsh and one cannot leave the Hab without a spacesuit. Our suits are our personal spaceship, responsible for keeping us alive. Without a spacesuit our lungs would rupture, ear drums would burst, our saliva and tears would boil. Within 10-14 seconds we would lose consciousness. Trust me, nothing in a spacesuit is that easy – trying to understand and articulate what we are seeing, to find analogies for an experience that is so unique. The Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) is incredibly physically taxing. We have carried out several EVAs over the last week and each one has been a unique experience that includes huge learning curve not only for our mission but also for future human Mars missions.

Life on Mars is never easy, one thing that remains unchanged is the number of challenges we face every day with limited resources but what has changed is our attitude of looking at these problems. As the days pass by, we are becoming accustomed to these problems and we work in a constructive and collaborative way to resolve the issues, which has helped us maintain the same or more enthusiasm than that we had before our mission.
Thanks,
Mamatha

EVA Report – February 5th

EVA Report:
SOL: 07
Date: 02/05/2017
Person filling out the report: Arpan Vasanth
Crew members involved in the EVA: Mamatha Maheshwarappa, Sneha Velayudhan and Arpan Vasanth
EVA leader: Mamatha Maheshwarappa
Begin: 10:48 hrs
End: 14:13 hrs
Type of EVA: Walking + Rovers (Phobos and Deimos)
Purpose: Collection of soil samples for characterizing the transference of human commensal bacteria and few photos/videos were captured using drone for outreach activities.
UTM Coordinates: Northing: 4247314, Easting : 520331
Study of drone usage to ease EVA
UTM Coordinates: Northing: 4248000, Easting : 519350
Summary: We started the EVA at 10:48. The EVA included filling up of static tank and soil sample collection at the farthest point from the hab. Three samples were collected in Falcon tubes near Highway turnoff and stored for future analysis. This research aims at using metagenomics analyses to assess the degree to which human-associated bacteria could potentially contaminate Mars during the crewed mission to the surface.
The next objective was to study drone assistance for EVA, today it was used for around 30 minutes to understand the path ahead of rover along with 11 Satellites assistance. Pros and cons will be listed after few more planned EVA.
Kind regards,
Mamatha