MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

Crew Photos – March 1st


Inflating the balloon 1

Inflating the balloon 2

 


Balloon gaining altitude

 

Crew from above

 


Station from the sky

Station seen from above

Earth is actually going round

Journalist Report – March 1st

Journalist report, 03/01/17 – Sol 17: R.I.P little balloon.

Today’s EVA was all about the atmospheric balloon. It was forced to remain on the ground for many days, and finally, we were supposed to let it fly for 24 hours, in front of the hab, to have a look on it, even if we would not be able to intervene in case of any problem happening. Simon, Mouâdh, Arthur and Louis (who shot today’s photos) left at 9:00 am by foot to deploy it. After some time spent to attach it properly, it was time to inflate it. It is always the trickiest part: three crew members have to run together, holding it, to let air fill it up. It was not very successful at the beginning, being troubled by the wind. But after about half an hour, it went straight up, to reach its maximum altitude. This time, Simon had fixed the camera on the side, so that with a little luck, we would be able to have a picture of the hab. We now know that we had this luck, and the shot is absolutely stunning.

The balloon being settled, the crew went up the hill next to it, to have a god view on the balloon’s area, being able to check it during its few hours up. It was supposed then to go up and down following temperature changes, so that it will land at night, then go up again with the sun. We had determined a whole area, in which it was not supposed to be damaged to hard if it touched the ground, and did attach it well to the ground. The team left it at 11:00 after having removed the video camera from the balloon, as it would have lacked battery and memory long time before the next day, and we ate at noon.

It is only after lunch that we noticed it was missing. We had no visual of it from the hab, even if the area was chosen to allow us to check it. We received no other sign of its presence in the following hours. Different scenarios are possible: the balloon had a leak, so that it lost air, then altitude and fell on the ground, there is areas we cannot watch from the hab because of the terrain and it might be here. The rope might have broken, being cut by friction on a stone we used as the base, then is has gone far. The pod above the balloon might have broken, then it is more complicated, we might find it tomorrow, but the balloon might be lost, or we could find both parts of it. Anyway, even if it is not good news, we have another balloon, all the equipment (because we removed the camera), is not very expensive. We bought everything in double as we considered a potential failure.

To end with, I spend yesterday’s evening with Mouâdh on the observatory. It was the occasion for me to shoot some videos of him using the telescope for the mission video, and to learn a bit more about astronomy, while observing Orion’s nebula or Jupiter and its moons. I also brought the camera, and took some shots, just to make sure that Earth was rotating, while freezing in the desert night, waiting for my long exposition time shots to be taken.

 

Louis MANGIN, crew journalist MDRS 175

Commander Report – March 1st

Dear Earth,


We are now on Sol 17, really close to the end of our mission, which is
planned on Sol 19 in the afternoon.

As we begin to feel the fatigue, we decided to postpone the physical
training to the evening. Mouâdh led the EVA of this morning, which was
dedicated to the deployment of the balloon for the next 24 hours.
Simon, Louis Maller and I joined him to handle this quite voluminous
experiment. We anchored it about 200m north of the Hab, where we could
monitor it from the kitchen’s window. The Optinvent AR glasses were
also tested by Louis during the EVA, and worked well during the
engineering check: he could take pictures from inside his helmet and
Victoria was able to see from inside the Hab what he was seeing
outdoors.

The balloon experiment was unfortunately aborted after lunch, when we
noticed that we could no longer see the black 5-meter wide sphere. We
have two explanations for that: either the balloon was tore apart by
the nearby rocks when the wind pushed him to the ground; or most
likely the balloon escaped its anchor and flew away to its heavenly
destiny. Luckily, at the end of the EVA we had recovered the GoPro
that was filming from inside the platform. The only device that was
lost with the balloon is our Arduino, dedicated to atmospheric
measurements. On tomorrow’s EVA we will investigate the cause of this
loss, and hopefully we find the platform crashed somewhere around the
Hab (I have doubts about it though).

In the afternoon we did an important briefing concerning tomorrows’s
EVA, because it will be a little particular: we will do the entire EVA
without using the walkie talkies, to test our non verbal communication
protocols inspired by scuba diving gestures. Thus, we need to know by
heart how and when to perform our tasks, since it will be nearly
impossible to explain complex ideas. Quite a challenging EVA in
perspective!


Ad Astra!
Arthur Lillo
Commander of the balloon-liberating Crew 175

Sol Summary – March 1st

SOL SUMMARY REPORT SOL 17
SOL: 17

Person filling out Report: Louis MALLER, XO
Summary Title: Up!
Mission Status: successful EVA in the morning, all systems go, work on experiments ongoing
Sol Activity Summary: EVA, science work on different experiments, sport
Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow we will gather the seismometer, then explore some more as we prepare to leave
Anomalies in work: gave up on the 3D printer, clock in the living quarters not functional, balloon untethered and seems to have flown away
Weather: very sunny, some mild winds
Crew Physical Status: Injured crewmember conditions stable, rest of crew feeling well
EVA: EVA for balloon deployment, AR glass tests and some around the Hab exploration

Reports to be filed:
– Commander report
– Operations report
– Journalist report
– GreenHab Report
– EVA #16 report
– EVA #17 request
– Astronomy Report
– Science Report

GreenHab Report – March 1st

Green Hab Report  – Sol 16
Report written by: Victoria DA-POIAN (Crew Biologist)

Date : 02/28/2017

Functionality: The heater in the green hab is working well. Today was a very sunny day. I checked the temperature in the GreenHab this morning. It was around 45 Celsius degrees around 10:30 AM while the temperature in the tunnel was around 7 Celsius degrees. I switched on the cooler (on stage 3).

The GreenHab temperature was 15 Celsius degrees at 6:00PM while it was 3.2 Celsius degrees in the tunnel. I watered the seedlings this morning and I did this afternoon.


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. I harvested one  lettuce and I planted one new.

The Vegidair has been installed is still functionning very well.

Science Report – March 1st

Science Report
01Mar2017

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

Today the Optinvent AR Glasses were tested during the EVA by myself, with Victoria monitoring the computer from the Hab.
The recording function worked appropriately, I was able to start and stop recording with movements of my head. I had changed the “stop recording function” to a smaller gesture – tilting the head to the right. It is much more convenient and worked quite well. I think I will change the other functions in a similar way.
One for the functions was relaunching AirDroid by looking up. It is quite difficult to look up enough for the function to be triggered, so it will be nice to do it.
Victoria was monitoring the image from the glasses’ camera on the computer, connected to the glasses through a LAN created by my phone. We did some range tests. In conclusion the range (which is the range of the wifi signal) is between 10 and 20 meters. Once the connection is lost, you need to come quite close to the Hab (less than 10 meters), relaunch AirDroid (using the looking up trigger), and the Hab is able to reconnect to the glasses’ camera.
The recording quality is acceptable, the readings that I have recorded are intelligible.
Now I will start thinking of other ways of using the glasses with head movement. The problem is finding movements that are both feasible and won’t trigger functions by accident. It would be nice to be able to slideshow procedures with the glasses, but the succession of necessary movements might be complicated to implement.

Experiment: Balloon
Person filling in the report: Simon Bouriat

Today the balloon was deployed during the EVA. It took quite a while to do all the knots with the gloves, but it was necessary to be sure the balloon would be strongly tethered to the ground. It eventuelly inflated and rose. It was set up at the usual spot, in the plain north of the Hab. The wind, even if it was quite low, still was a problem for the balloon.
We left it fly during the rest of the EVA, and got the GoPro back from it before coming back to the Hab: it had teken some pretty good shots!
We could watch the balloon from the Hab. But early in the afternoon, it wasn’t in sight anymore. We suspect that either it managed somehow to untether (strings sawed off by rocks?) and blew away, or it ripped apart and crashed somewhere out of sight. we will investigate the site during tomorrow’s EVA to determine cause of death.

Astronomy Report – March 1

ASTRONOMY REPORT
SOL 17

 

NAME:  Mouadh Bouayad            CREW: 175

DATE: 03/01/2017

DATE OF OSERVATION: 02/28/2017

SKY CONDITIONS: clear
WIND CONDITIONS: no wind

OBSERVATION START TIME: 8:00 pm
OBSERVATION END TIME: 12:00 am
SUMMARY: Yesterday afternoon, I took about an hour to become familiar with the CCD camera, and the software on the astronomy computer. I prepared everything to be able to use it right after (when night falls). I also figured I could use the software from the hab, as I found the blue Ethernet cable in the hab. It finally took me more time than I expected to do the focus, and I therefore missed Mars and Venus. I however could take some more pictures of Orion Nebulae and Jupiter.

 

Nevertheless, I still don’t know how to zoom in or out, especially in order to get more details of Jupiter. Because no matter how hard I tried to dim it down, it still seemed too bright to get some details. Now that I know more about how everything works, I think I’ll be able to take a lot more pictures tonight.

 
OBJECTS VIEWED: Orion Nebulae, Betelgeuse (no photos), Jupiter
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED: None

EVA Report – March 1st

EVA Report

EVA#16

Crew members: Mouâdh Bouayad (EVA leader), Arthur Lillo, Louis Maller and Simon Bouriat (EVA buddies)

Habcom : Xavier Rixhon

Departure time:  9:15 AM

Return time: 10:58 AM

Vehicules: None

Location: Around the Hab

Purposes:

  • Tests of the AR glasses
  • Deployment of the solar balloon

Summary:

We did the engineering check; it was quite short as we didn’t take any vehicles. We moreover checked the propane tank today.

After that, we headed North, about 100 meters from the Hab to deploy the solar balloon. On our way to the deployment site, Louis Maller was testing the AR glasses’ range with Victoria, through the radio. It took about 45 minutes to prepare, inflate and deploy the balloon.

We then got a little bit closer to the Hab in order for Louis to do some more tests with the glasses. At 10:15, we went at the top of the hill behind the Hab, and enjoyed the wonderful view.

After Louis took some pictures, we went back to the Hab, and entered the main airlock at 10:55.