Crew 175 Journalist Report 15Feb2017
Journalist report, 02/15/17 – Sol 3: First time outside.
Today was the day of our first EVA. I was going to go out with Arthur, our Commander, and today also EVA leader, Mouâdh and Simon. We had two goals: find a place to bury the seismometer and if possible dig in there, and try our first use of the balloon. The EVA was planned from 9:00 a.m. to noon. In order not to start late, we had a quick breakfast after the sport session, before suiting up.
Preparing for the EVA was more challenging than expected. Everything that seemed trivial before became a problem. For instance, the only fact that we had to block our earplugs to be sure that they would never fall from our ears during three hours was not that simple, and no earplug means no radio contact, that clearly doesn’t help on the outside. That is why we tried different styles of earplug fixation methods. Mouâdh went straight forward: a cap under the helmet. Arthur used his head lamp. Simon used his engineering skills, building a headband out of bubble wrap. Then, I went through the pragmatic way: tape. Anyway, this small crew, after having dressed up properly, went in the airlock a few three minutes late. Good for a first time.
Our first steps outside were pretty disturbing: the backpack is heavy, the gloves restrain us from any precise movement, and fog accumulates quickly on the glass of our helmets. We had to begin the EVA by different checks: water and fuel level, battery of the rovers, etc… And to refuel what needed to be. This whole time, we were guided on the radio by Xavier, our engineer, in charge of this overseeing this task. I also realised very quickly that having a reflex camera and a video camera around my neck would not help in moving outside. More than this, using the camera was very hard. I prepared before, configuring it to be usable without the visor, but the fact that it was attached to my neck, kept away from my eyes by the helmet and its fog made me shoot more than half of the photos blind, even if the result wasn’t that bad as I discovered afterwards.
After a quick rover trip, we reached a plain in which we deployed the balloon. It went almost surprisingly well for a first shot. The balloon after having been filled up, went up as high as the rope let him. We just did not anticipate the wind that was blowing 20 meters high, preventing our balloon from going straight up. The result was impressive and we had our first graph of pressure and temperature, along with a beautiful shot. We also found the right place for the seismometer, in a dry river bed, and started to dig the hole, in which we will deploy it.
At the same time, in the hab, Victoria managed to start growing the freshly received lettuce in the Vegidair. Louis take a first shot at cooking pancakes and the second at baking bread. We might live abroad, but already have to eat, and cooking will help in diversifying our meals.
Tomorrow will start by another EVA in which I will take part for the second time, with Louis as leader, Victoria and Xavier.
Louis MANGIN, crew journalist MDRS 175