MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

Commander Report – February 24th

Dear Earth,

Sol 12 was particularly cold.

This morning, Louis Mangin, Louis Maller and Simon did an EVA under
the lead of Xavier. Our Executive Officer was equipped with the
augmented reality glasses “Optinvent”, so that Mouâdh could watch on
his computer inside the Hab what Louis was seeing outdoors. However,
this helpful technology was only usable in the vicinity of the Hab
(for instance during the engineering check), because of the short
range of our WiFi connection. The rest of the EVA was dedicated to
exploration, heading to the remarkable landscapes beyond Tank Wash. An
area east of Factory Butte looked a lot like the grey hills around the
Apollo landing sites. Our four brave astronauts came back
freezing-cold and were overjoyed by the hot meal they encountered on
upper deck.

The afternoon began with card game time (the main debate here is about
what game should be played after lunch, between “la coinche”, “la
belote” and “le tarot”). Today “la coinche” won the fight, and was
followed by the usual partition of the crew in the different modules:
Victoria in the GreenHab, the two Louis and Mouâdh on the upper deck
of the Hab, Xavier, Simon and I in the Science Dome. In the meantime,
we tried to revive the 3D printer which is still reluctant to our
efforts. I am optimistic though, given the inventivity of my team.

Ad Astra!

Arthur Lillo
Commander of the cold-resistant Crew 175

Crew Photos – February 24th

12N 425300 51800 02242017 Crew on hill 2
12N 515000 4254000 02242017 ATVs on Yellow Moon
02242017 Calibrating the printer
02242017 Connected glasses connected to PC
02242017 Refilling the tank
12N 425300 51800 02242017 Crew on hill
12N 515000 4254000 02242017 From Yellow to White moon
12N 515000 4254000 02242017 Grey Moon
02242017 Deploting the balloon

GreenHab Report – February 24th

Green Hab Report – Sol 12
Report written by: Victoria DA-POIAN (Crew Biologist)

Date : 02/24/2017

Functionality: The heater in the green hab is working well. Today was a very sunny but cold day ! I checked the temperature in the GreenHab this morning. It was around 28 Celsius degrees around 10:00 AM while the temperature in the tunnel was around 3.2 Celsius degrees. I switched on the cooler on stage 2. The GreenHab temperature was 24 Celsius degrees at 6:00PM while it was 2.8 Celsius degrees in the tunnel. I watered twice the plants today.

Status: The existing seedlings in the greenhab are continuing to grow well. There are spinach, lettuce, radish, and beans growing very well in the small pots.

The lettuces are growing well too. The new lettuces I planted are growing very well too.

The Vegidair has been installed a week ago and is functionning very well. We were able to see nice sprouts of lettuce today in the Vegidair and some smaller in the similar pots I put in the GreenHab.

Science Report – February 24th

Science Report

Experiment : Optinvent AR Glasses
Person filling in the report: Louis Maller

Finally found an application that allows to connect the glasses to a computer using a local ad-hoc network (LAN). The HabCom was able to view on his computer what I was seeing. Unfortunately, the diesel tank was already out of range for the LAN. The phone creating the LAN was in my pocket, maybe placing it inside the GreenHab for example would have allowed for better coverage. Tomorrow we will do some range tests to evaluate this possibility during the EVA. Further work will be based on trying to find a solution to control the glasses (operating on android) from my phone (also on android), through a LAN. Suggestions welcome!

Experiment: Sextant
Person filling in the report: Arthur Lillo
The Sextant has proved that it is usable during EVAs even with gloves. Thanks to the new compass that was built, it is much more easy to find our position on the map. The development of a dedicated app is on standby due to lack of appropriate software.

Experiment: Balloon
Person filling in the report: Simon Bouriat
There was a deployment test this morning, which was unsuccessful due to strong gusts of wind that took us a bit by surprise. We aborted the deployment, and as we tried to put the balloon back in place, it ripped a little in some places. Xavier and I spend some time this afternoon fixing it. We are hoping that the wind will lower enough before the end of our mission in order for us to deploy it successfully, ideally for 24 hours.

Experiment: Aquapad
Person filling in the report: Arthur Lillo
Aquapads were prepared today in order to test the evolution of the quality of the filtered water in the Hab.

EVA Report – February 24th

EVA #11

Crew members (4) : Xavier Rixhon (EVA leader), Louis XO, Louis Journalist and Simon HSO (EVA buddies)

Location: Hab surroundings, North of the Hab to do PR (at Tank Wash : 518500, 4253500)

Vehicules : 1 rover (Deimos), 2 ATV (350 #3 and 300)
Time: departure at 09:00 a.m and back at 12:00pm

Duration : 3 hours

Purposes:
• Deploying the balloon at the acceptable location near the hab, found during EVA #9
• Since this place is absolutely stunning, tank Wash exploration, shooting of other “official photos” (with our official photographer-journalist this time)
• AR glasses testing : battery autonomy, potential mobile app (if available) testing

Summary:

Unfortunately, we started the EVA 15 minutes, the classic “quart d’heure toulousain”, late because of last minute balloon preparation. The EVA commenced with the traditional engineering check (see Operations Report for details). After this super fast pre-EVA engineering check, we headed to the location near the hab to deploy the balloon. As soon as we tried to open it, we understood we couldn’t make it because of the strong wind and gusts. It was that strong that the balloon tore apart and had to be fixed up in the afternoon. After putting it back in the engineering airlock, we took Deimos and instead of taking two 350, we trie the ATV 300 for the very first time and the 350 #3. We started a long drive to the North. Louis, the Journalist, took amazing panoramic shots on the hills of Tank Wash. As we still had heaps of time, we went on North and ended up in the middle of a lunar landscape, next to “The Moon”. It was particularly exceptional to pass from Mars to the Moon in only few yards. I decided to head to back to the Hab around 11:15, considering the ride back duration and the post-EVA engineering check. This time, pumping up the tires was away more efficient. As accurate as a Swiss watch, we entered the main airlock at 11:56 and, after 3-minute pressurisation, join our crew mates at 11:59 in the Hab.

Sol Summary – February 24th

SOL SUMMARY REPORT SOL 12
Person filling out Report: Louis MALLER, XO
Summary Title: Outlandish landscapes!

Mission Status: successful EVA in the morning, all systems go, work on experiments ongoing
Sol Activity Summary: sport, EVA, science work on different experiments
Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow there should be an EVA, hoping for less windy weather for balloon deployment, and other experiments can also be tested outside.
Anomalies in work: 3D printer being troubleshooted
Weather: beautiful and sunny in the morning, but quite cold and with irregular blasts of wind
Crew Physical Status: Crew feeling well

EVA: tried to deploy the balloon on the location we had identified north of the hab, but failed because of heavy and sudden gusts of wind. Then we headed north, scouted for interesting places, took some pictures, and were particularly stunned by the place aptly named “The Moon” on the MDRS Map. Truly out-of-this world. We felt like Apollo astronauts as our vehicles and boots lifted up fine gray dust. Weather cold and windy but blue sky and absolutely no fogging in helmets, so we could fully enjoy the wonders of our Mars.

Reports to be filed:
– Commander report
– Operations report
– Journalist report
– GreenHab Report
– EVA #11 report
– EVA #12 request
– Science report
– 3D Printer status report

3D Printer Status
We have set to the task of making the 3D printer work, as we had some free time on our hands. We found the task more difficult than we had previously thought. Indeed, last year, when Arthur and I were on the station the 3D printer was perfectly working. It had no problem calibrating, and all the material was inside the box (with the possible exception of the Gap Gauge, sandpaper and Allan Wrench, citing by memory as this was one year ago).. It had a USB key in which we had put the executable for the printer and a few printable files.

When we opened the box again today, we found the printer in a sorry state. The scraping spatula, the quick start guide, the pliers, the casing and its content (including USB key)… had disappeared.

The cube glue is almost empty. There is only one cartridge left (which seems logical as it the other one has probably been used up), but it wasn’t operational.

We first decided to repair the cartridge, as we found it in three different pieces which is not its normal state. We then tried to calibrate the printer. We think that one of the three knobs that are supposed to maintain the plate is broken. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to repair it and we couldn’t calibrate the plate so our test print failed. One of the issues might be a malfunction of the printing head as the melted plastic does not seem to come out of it and as the color of the plastic is mostly grey even if it is a black colored cartridge. This is the next step we will look forward to fix the printer but it’s an issue we still have to work on. We also hope to fix the knob maybe directly by using glue.

Journalist Report – February 24th

Journalist report, 02/24/17 – Sol 12:  Freezing cold.

I took part in today’s EVA, which goal was to test the balloon, the connected glasses, and explore in the Northern part of the desert. I was going out with Xavier, Simon and Louis. After the classical checks, a water refill, we began by trying to deploy the solar balloon at the spot we marked few days ago, just a few meters away from the hab. After having fixed it to the ground, we started to inflate it. But a strong wind was blowing on the ground, making it very hard to control it. We struggled for a few minutes, before we decided to abort the experiment. It was a bit damaged by the wind, and we put it back in the engineering airlock, before leaving on the rovers and ATVs. During this whole time, Louis was trying a local network, generated by his phone, that was broadcasting his glasses’ view in order to let habcom see what he we seeing. We found out that its range was limited to a dozen of meters, so that it is only usable during the engineering check, but worth it.

The second part of the EVA was more about adventure: as we spent less time than expected on the solar balloon, we had a lot of time remaining for exploration. That is why we went far away from the station. We reached a place called “The moon”. The ground went from white, to yellow, to grey, in only few hundreds of meters. I was very disturbing, as we never experienced such a landscape before. It clearly didn’t seem that we were on Earth already… We stopped in front of Sanjerooni Butte, a flat mountain, detaching strictly from the ground, with its vertical sides, with Skyline Rim as a background. This whole view was absolutely stunning, but one thing was disturbing our contemplation: the cold. The temperature was very low this morning, even if the sun was bright and the air dry. It seems that the photos are shot in the middle of summer, but I took half of it without feeling my fingers…

The afternoon was full of science as usual, I spent a lot of time working on my morning shots, as my teammates were working on their own. We recently unboxed the 3D printer of the station. I must have been broken because we had to struggle just to turn it on, and are already calibrating it. Tomorrow we might take another shot with the balloon. Let’s hope that we will be luckier than this morning.

 

Louis MANGIN, crew journalist MDRS 175