Sol Summary – February 6th

Sol Summary:
Prepared by: Saroj Kumar
Sol: 08
Earth date: 02.06.2017
‘Survival against martian storm’
One amongst many challenges the astronauts would face on Mars will be to survive the dust storms which occur about once in two years and last for many months. These storms are so huge that it can even be observed from Earth. We faced the similar condition today where unexpectedly the wind speeds were pretty high than usual. The crew could hear loud sound of wind hitting the hab ‘windows’ early in the morning.

The first activity for the day began as always is an early morning briefing at 0700 hrs, but actually some of us would be awake well before the dawn to get in touch with family and friends when the communication window with Earth is still open. The breakfast for the day was special ‘Aloo paratha’ (Potato stuffed Indian bread) with pickle and tea (a perfect north Indian ‘nashta’ :D) which was different from usual breakfast of cereals and powdered milk.

Soon after the breakfast, Arun and myself started preparing for our EVA. We had planned to visit four locations, which were sedimentary outcrops, reservoir dam, igneous field and candor chasma.
The moment we came out of the hab we realized that our exploration on Mars today will also include our fight against the heavy dust storm. We found sandstones and conglomerates in the region along with basalt. We also found a specific type of lichen in the sedimentary outcrop. We found that the name of the lichen is Heteroplacidum compactum as documented by one of the previous crews. As Arun worked on his geological study at sedimentry outcrop, I worked on the sampling protocols for planetary protection by testing the agility of my spacesuit. We also simultaneously discussed and tried to understand the kind of study and preparation required to do geological study on Mars. Around 12 noon, Arun started to feel uneasy after continuously working for about two hours and this made us decide to cut short our planned EVA. Upon our return to the hab, I was tasked to check the status of operations support equipment and this is when I found that due to heavy winds the tarpaulin on static water tank had almost flown away. Sneha joined me and we together placed the tarpaulin back on the static water tank by placing heavy rocks over and around the tank as a temporary solution.
The crew spent rest of the evening relaxing and had casual ‘Nitte’ discussions over chai. The dinner for the day is being prepared by Sneha and Arpan. Our tomorrow’s task will mainly be focused on outreach activities apart from conducting our regular experiments on Mars.
Ad Astra !!