Author: Cesare Guariniello
Purpose of EVA: Visit the regions of Beige Moon and Yellow Moon, collect samples of salts
Destination: Yellow Moon
Participants: Cesare, Melanie, Mark, Samuel
Narrative: This EVA brought the crew for the first time Northwest of the habitat, in the region of The Moons (White Moon, Beige Moon, Gray Moon, Yellow Moon). After egressing the habitat airlock, the EVA crew members spent about fifteen minutes strapping and securing the spectrometer case and the geology toolbox to the ATVs. This simple activity was very instructive about the difficulties of performing simple tasks when donning bulky gloves and a space suit, being able to communicate only via radio, while always “thinking like a Martian” (for example, this means slow and accurate movements, paying attention to the safety of all crew members).
Due to the low temperature, the crew had to use the choker to start the ATVs. However, despite warming the 300, its engine quit multiple times. Since the EVA had multiple stops planned, the crew decided not to use the 300, and instead added a third 350 (vehicles used were the Honda, 350.1, 350.2, and 350.3). The ride North was quite slow, due to the presence of a delicate, expensive instrument.
Once again, the crew did not spot the unmarked road (in this case, Hwy 1572), and went further North to the end of the ATV road. This detour gave the crew the first spectacular sight: on the way back towards Hwy 1572, the crew drove through the Glistening Seas, and the position of the Sun showed how appropriate this name is. The whole plain was sparkly with reflections from gypsum crystals, which gave a sense of awe. In the middle of the Glistening Seas, the EVA crew spotted the location of Hwy 1572 and followed it towards Yellow Moon. Upon reaching the location and parking the ATVs, the crew geologist began his collection of samples, while other EVA crew members explored the area. The magnificent landscape, open to the East on the red Morrison formation, and shadowed to the West by the brown rims of Mancos shale, prompted a discussion within the EVA crew to discuss about the possibility of reaching the Martian Moons.
Due to the delays at the beginning of the EVA, the crew had to turn around after just 40 minutes in the field. On the way back, two more stops for collection of geological samples were added, before the crew stopped at Mount Nutella (see photos of the day) to climb the sand dune and look at the formations from the top of the mount. Melanie lost communication at this point, but this did not cause any problem: she was put in the middle of the ATVs convoy, and the EVA party was already enroute to the habitat. Upon returning, while Melanie refueled the ATVs and tested the 300 (which worked, since it had warmed up), and Cesare unstrapped the tools, the crew was welcomed by a new pet: the NorCal Mars Society’s rover Phoenix!! The EVA crew played with it for a little bit, before ingressing the airlock to end this astonishing EVA.