GreenHab Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Green Hab Report 02Jan2018

GreenHab Report

Mark Gee


Environmental control:

Heating for entire Greenhab

Shade cloth on the crops

Working Hour: 06:00PM
Inside temp at working hour: 16 C
Outside temp during working hours: 0 C
Inside temperature high: 35 C
Inside temperature low: 15 C
Inside humidity: 26 %RH

Inside humidity high: 35 %RH
Inside humidity low: 16 %RH

Hours of supplemental light:

For the crops 07:00-08:00AM, 05:00 – 11:59PM

Changes to crops: Three flats of radish microgreens have been planted.

Daily water usage for crops: 8.5 gallons

Time(s) of watering for crops: 09:00AM, 04:30PM

Moring research observations: The Greenhab Officer from Crew 185 left an experiment comparing the growth of tomato plants with and without a foliar application of moringa extract. Both treatments are growing well.

Changes to research plants:

Space exploration is a great challenge and the next step of the journey is to send a person to Mars. Plants will play a critical role because of their ability to generate oxygen, water, and fresh food. In the near future, generating fresh food will be the most important role for plants because abiotic means of providing oxygen and water are very effective.

Microgreens provide a quick and efficient way to produce fresh food in space because they can be harvested in 10 days and can potentially grow without soil. I am comparing how well microgreens grow in potting soil, pulverized clay, and on a cloth with no growth medium to investigate if soil-free microgreen production is feasible in simulated Mars greenhouse habitat.

As well, plants depend on the microbes present in their environment to help them grow. As far as we know, no bacteria exist on Mars, and future Mars explorations will attempt to remain as sterile as possible to avoid contaminating the planet. The one source of microbes that will be intentionally transported are the microbes stored in the guts of the astronauts.

How well will microgreens grow when removed from the context of their native microbiome? If the microgreens are colonized by microbes from the astronauts, will there be an additional effect on plant growth?

To help answer these questions about the plant microbiome I am growing radish microgreens in a sterilized, soil-free environment and comparing treatments that have been inocculated with greywater from the hab, inocculated with native soil bacteria, and innoculated with sterile water.

In total, 15 flats of radish microgreens have been planted for the experiments above.

Aquaponics: Not Functional

Narrative: Last night I was working late in the Green Hab to prepare the microgreen experiment. At about 9pm the lights shut off unexpectedly which was concerning because there have been so many problems with the generator. Fortunately, it was only the analog timer that had malfunctioned and I was able to quickly reset it to get the lights back on.

This morning, the microgreen experiment was set up with the help of our Commander Max.

The Arduino temperature/humidity logger died yesterday after 28 hours of recording data. This means I only have to swap the batteries once a day. The difference between the logged data and readouts from the gauge used by previous crews was reasonably small.

A rocket ship landed mid-afternoon and deposited several bags of potting soil and perlite outside the habitat. Thank you to the pilot.

Support/supplies needed: None

Operations Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Operations Report 02JAN2018

SOL: 02

Name of person filing report: M. Grande

Non-nominal systems: Generator power system

Notes on non-nominal systems:

Ready for a long Engineering story? Following the generator failure early yesterday morning, I’ve been keeping an eye on the batteries and the battery charger. Yesterday, Sol 01, I removed the plastic covers from the posts to break out the “new” battery (with the sticker “9/17”), plugging that into the charger. As noted in Sol 01 Operations Report, I switched out the batteries in the evening, so the “old” battery (sticker “10/17”) that we had been using all the time was back in action. Though the batteries should supposedly last us 24 hours, the new 9/17 battery was unfortunately at a 50% SOC yesterday evening, after running the generator through our Martian daylight hours. This may be due to my lack of knowledge in the need to charge batteries before usage, and I would please request clarification on this requirement and possible effects of not charging before first use.

I mention this concern because today, Sol 02, has been a bright, sunny, and clear day… Perfect for spending the day taking trips through the tunnels to keep checking on an off-nominal battery charger! This morning, the battery charger showed 0% SOC after it was supposed to be charging the new 9/17 battery all night long! Too cold in the Science Dome maybe, even though I moved it inside? Also this morning, the generator indicated low battery and was running at only 9.3 V (lower than nominal 12 V). The rugged old 10/17 battery had charged all day, supposedly, but now apparently was at low charge after only running through the night.

Well, Max and I hooked up the multimeter he brought to check the voltages and amp draw on both batteries. At some point, the charger also began showing around 50% SOC on both the batteries. The charger was connected to the old 10/17 battery for several hours in the morning, and then was connected to the new 9/17 battery for several hours–in fact, all afternoon. Wrong SOC readings on the charger? The 50% generator battery SOC seems to be a small success, because the multimeter readings indicate the batteries should be full… On both batteries, now: 13.0 +/- 1.0 V and 5.5 +/- 0.6 A. Based on some battery knowledge and reading over a couple Schumacher Battery Chargers 10/2 A output, this indicated a fully charged battery. Small success?

The trusty old 9/17 battery has been plugged in this evening around 5pm when the Hab switched from solar power. The 10/17 battery was plugged into the generator at first, showing 100% SOC on the charger actually, but the generator failed to start. So I brought it back in and am leaving it plugged into the charger inside the Science Dome overnight.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the generator system! The battery charger remains suspicious and on trial.

Generator (hours run): 12.8h

Generator turned off, charging 10/17 battery at 8:45am

Charging 9/17 battery at 12:30pm

Generator turned on at 5:50pm

Solar— SOC

@ 8:00am : 100%

@ 5:50pm : 60%

Diesel: 65%

Propane: 39%

Ethanol Free Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV): 00 Gallons

Water (trailer): 10 Gallons

Water (static): 430 Gallons

Trailer to Static Pump used: No

Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used: Yes

Water Meter: 128950.1 Gallons

Toilet tank emptied: No

ATVs Used: None

Oil Added? No

ATV Fuel Used: 00 Gallons

# Hours the ATVs were used today: 00:00 hours

Notes on ATVs: None

Deimos rover used: No

Hours: 96.4

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge:

Currently charging: Yes

Sojourner rover used: Assigned to director only.

Hours: 5.1

Beginning charge: Unknown

Ending charge: 96%

Currently charging: No

Spirit rover used: Yes

Hours: 7.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 89%

Currently charging: Yes

Opportunity rover used: No

Hours: 4.3

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: No

Curiosity rover used: Yes

Hours: 3.1

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 72%

Currently charging: No

HabCar used and why, where? No

General notes and comments:

Curiosity rover was charging from the end of the EVA until the Engineering EVA, when I switched the cord to Spirit. However, I forgot to check the final charge on Curiosity after the Engr EVA, my apologies. We need 1-2 more extension cords in order to have all rovers charging at one time.

I took my first real Engineering EVA this evening with Commander Max! We trekked over to check the propane, unloaded some things for the little NorCal rover from the RAM, and I checked on a couple of our electric rovers. Tried out the Exo-Suit for the first time, too! Felt great at first and definitely so easy to slip on, and I appreciated it not hitting the back of my head like the other EVA packs–poor short Mel. Halfway through (which ws only after about 10 mins) I did feel some pretty uncomfortable strain on my shoulders. I’ll try adjusting it better next time.

Summary of internet: All nominal

Summary of suits and radios: All nominal

Summary of Hab operations: All nominal

Summary of GreenHab operations: All nominal

Summary of ScienceDome operations: All nominal

Summary of RAM operations: Not Operational

Summary of health and safety issues: Crew is Healthy

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support:

Maybe we can find someone with more generator and battery knowledge to check out what’s been going on. I’ve tried to record everything in my notebook and summarize them for CapCom so far. Also, I replaced the air filter, and Shannon says this should become routine at the start of each rotation from now on.

Melanie Grande, Crew 186 Engineer

Sol Summary Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Sol 2 Summary Report 02JAN2018

Sol 2

Summary Title: Elusive Blueberries and Baby Radishes

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: All nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Our second day on Mars was opened with the slow-motion electrical chords of Vangelis theme from Chariots of Fire. After our morning Yoga, the second EVA team composed of Kshitij, Cesare, Mark, and Sam departed the airlock to search and sample the hematite blueberry formations at Goldstone Rd. that had eluded the first EVA team. While they were out, the remaining crew members caught up on Hab tasks, including Melanie dealing with a finicky battery charger, and Max watering our brand new Radish microgreens that Mark has spent the last few days preparing GreenHab for. The EVA team had a very successful (if exhausting) long duration EVA, stopping twice under Cesare’s guidance to sample interesting geological features. The hematite blueberries, alas, continued to evade us. Shannon: We formally request a hint.

The connection to the Hanksville radio repeater we had hoped to use today for long-range communication wasn’t ready, so communications were lost between the EVA and Hab almost as soon as they rounded the corner, but the connection was fixed by the time they had returned, and we intend to use it to keep in touch on tomorrow’s EVA. The evening finished with Sam beginning his microbe sampling swabs around the hab, and an engineering EVA to move rover supplies from the RAM, along with a brand new load of soil for GreenHab that a friendly supply shuttle dropped right on our doorstep.

Our crew has developed a new tradition which we have dubbed “The Idiot Box”. It is a box which we leave just outside the airlock all day, into which we put all the equipment which we will feel like an idiot for forgetting on our next EVA. That missing airlock fastener? That thermal probe? That EVA medical kit? Ask any one of us about any of these pieces of equipment and we will all give you the same answer: “Put it in the Idiot Box.”

Look Ahead Plan: Our first non-geology EVA will take place tomorrow, with the three goals of photographing the as yet unvisited Maxwell Montes, testing our new long-range communications system with the Hanksville repeater, and testing the direction radio beacon for navigation.

Anomalies in work: The new generator battery does not seem to be charging as expected

Weather: 0C, Winds W at 3MPH, Humidity 43%

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Greenstone Rd take 2, 3.25 hrs, geological sampling for spectral analysis

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Report, EVA Request, Geology Report

Support Requested: The newer of the two generator batteries that we have on hand is not charging as expected. This may simply be due to it being relatively unused (see Operations report for details), but we aren’t sure. We can continue on the one battery for now, but would appreciate advice or sources on breaking in a new battery.

EVA Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 EVA Report 02JAN2018

Author: Cesare Guariniello

Purpose of EVA: Complete EVA #1 that was cut short: spectral sampling of clays and searching for hematite spherules in Greenstone region.

Destination: Greenstone region east of Greenstone Rd

UDM27 Coordinates:

Participants: Kshitij, Cesare, Mark, Sam

Narrative: This EVA was the first one for the three crew members who had not participated into the EVA yesterday. Since the first EVA had been cut short, the crew geologist joined this EVA to complete the tasks planned for the previous day. The planned sites were the region East of Greenstone Rd, and on the way back the region between Zubrin’s Head and Robert’s Rock Garden, both for collecting more clays and looking for hematite “blueberries”. The crew felt unusual levels of heat, due to a clear bright Sun, which also made it challenging to drive heading South, and possibly prevented the crew from identifying the access to Greenstone Road. Feeling that they might have overshot the intended destination, the crew parked the rovers and found out that they had reached White Rock Canyon, slightly South of Greenstone Road. The incredible sight and the discovery of a stream of frozen water at the bottom of the canyon prompted the EVA crew to take a few photos to document the area, before heading back to the rovers and finally reaching the intended destination, at the beginning of Greenstone Road. While the crew had no luck with the search for hematite blueberries, Cesare analyzed and collected more clay sample, with the support of Kshitij, Mark, and Sam. In the meanwhile, Kshitij also grabbed videos of the crew activity, while Sam took breathtaking photos of the location and of the crew.

After spending one hour and fifteen minutes at the first location, the crew headed back Northwest to stop at a second location, to the West of Cow Dung Road, where one more hour was spent in field activities. Cesare found a couple of promising rounded pebbles which appear to have a spectrum that at least partially resembles hematite.

Having lost communication with the habitat after crossing the first ridge, the crew observed line-of-sight rules for safety, and -among the research work- took time to think of their expedition and their goals. We were all amazed at the extreme resemblance of the location to plains on Mars, in colors, aspect, and mineralogy. Watching the landscape from the top of a ridge while wearing a space suit is an amazing experience!

When the EVA crew members came back, they were welcomed by the rest of the crew with well deserved water, before a very useful debriefing that will help in future EVAs. The crew performed very well with the 25-50-25 rule, actually spending only thirty minutes on the drive out and back, and two hours and fifteen minutes in the field!

Cesare Guariniello, PhD

Geology Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Geology Report 02JAN2018

The plan of today’s EVA included the two locations that were not visited yesterday: the area East of Greenstone Rd and the area between Robert’s Rock Garden and Zubrin’s Head, both in the Morrison formation. During the drive outbound, the crew geologist gave a short introduction to the other EVA members, who had not participated in the first EVA.
The crew spent a long time in the field, and the geologist was able to select, analyze, and collect various samples of clays in different strata of the Morrison formation. The search for hematite spherules was only partially successful, with two potential candidates found in the second site. The geologist also recorded temperature of the samples, for later analysis of thermal inertia of the material. The problem with the portable spectrometer is currently being addressed by personnel at Purdue.


Cesare Guariniello, PhD

Journalist Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Journalist Report 2Jan2018

[Sol 2]

The weather is exceptional today. Only faint tendrils of moisture drift lazily across the boundless sky, and we were able to run the habitat for most of the day on solar power alone. The downside to all this, however, could be attested to by the members of the crew who endured the oppressively hot radiance on our second EVA.

Guided by the crew’s geologist, Cesare, the team drove far to the south in search of clay and hematite samples. At one of the sites the crew was able to ascend a nearby butte and was treated to a spectacular panorama of the endless Martian desert. They returned with an overwhelming number of photos and much exhaustion. Our Green hab scientist, Mark Gee, had an especially tiring day, as he spent much of the morning preparing an experiment growing microgreens in conditions of minimal input and testing the effects of the habitat biome on plant growth.

Following a brief rest, the crew returned to preparing experiments and performing maintenance duties on the habitat. These duties included an engineering EVA to move equipment and check the battery status the rovers.

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist