Astronomy Report – January 6th

(This is not a formal MDRS report, just a summary of astronomy activities for the first week that were performed with my personal 6” Newtonian that I’ve set up next to the dome. No use of the MDRS observatories has taken place yet.)

Name: Max Fagin

Crew: 186

date: 01JAN2018-04JAN2018

Sky Conditions: Hazy for the first few evenings, but cleared up on Thursday and Friday

Wind Conditions: Calm

Observation Start Time: N/A

Observation End Time: N/A

Summary: The only scheduled observing was an attempt to photograph the entire crew on a distant mesa in front of the rising supermoon, but there were clouds to the east that prevented it. I have managed to catch a few photos of the sun and moon (attached). Also included is a photo of the crew on new years night (before entering simulation) standing on a (much nearer) mesa and looking at the full moon. The sky cleared up 2 nights ago, but has now gone back to cloudy, will do more astrophotography as the schedule and weather permits.

Objects Viewed: Sun, moon, M42 (not imaged)

Problems Encountered: None

Attached images:

Crew 186 and Supermoon 01012018.jpg

Moonrise 01042018.jpg

Sun and Supermoon.jpg

Supermoon 01012018.jpg

Greenhab Report – January 6th

GreenHab Report

Mark Gee

06Jan2018

Environmental control:

Heating

Shade cloth on

Working Hour: 05:40 PM
Inside temp at working hour: 20 C
Outside temp during working hours: -3 C
Inside temperature high: 22 C
Inside temperature low: 15 C
Inside humidity: 25 %RH

Inside humidity high: 32 %RH
Inside humidity low: 16 %RH

Hours of supplemental light:

For the crops 05:00 to 11:59 PM

Changes to crops: There have been two cloudy days in a row, so the crops did not require much water. Used all of the remaining tomato cages to support the larger tomato plants. Seeded several crops. Used the old seed to see what will grow. If there is no germination, newer seed packs will be used.

Below is an updated inventory of all of the crops, quantity, growth stage, actions taken, and notes.

Name

Quantity

Growth Stage

Action

Notes

Dill Weed

2ft row, ~40 plants

Seedling, 5 true leaves

Quick growing. Needs thinning.

Rosemary

2ft row, ~20 plants

Seedling, 1 true leaf

Slow growing.

Parsley

2ft row, ~50 plants

Seedling, 1 true leaf

Moderate growth. Needs thinning.

Cilantro

2ft row, ~40 plants

Seedling, 2 true leafs

Moderate growth

Oregano

2ft row, ~100 plants

Seedling, cotyledon

Spaced seedlings.

Slow growth.

Sage

2ft row, ~10 plants

Seedling, 1 true leaf

Moderate growth.

Basil

2ft row, ~40 plants

Seedling, 1 true leaf

Moderate growth. Needs thinning.

Thyme

2ft row, ~30 plants

Seedling, 2 true leafs

Slow growth.

Chives

2ft row, ~20 plants

Seedling, 1 leaf

Slow growth

Lavender

2ft row

Seeds, not emerged

Seeded plants.

Previous planting did not grow.

Spinach, Bloomsdale

3 pots, 16 plants.

Seedling, one true leaf.

Transplanted 06Jan2018

Spinach, Bloomsdale

4ft row

Seeds, not emerged

Planted

06Jan2018

Kale, Blue Curled Scotch

5 pots, ~50 plants

Seedling, one true leaf

Transplanted 06Jan2018

Cabbage, Golden Acre

1 seedling tray, ~20 plants

Seedlings, cotyledons

Need transplanting

Moringa Olifera

14 plots

Seeds, no emergence

These are trees. Should they be grown in the small Greenhab?

Paperwhites

3 pots, seven plants

Various, sprouted to flowering

Smell fragrant

Beans, Pole

27 plants

3ft vines, producing flowers and pods

Harvest at end of rotation.

Cucumber

23 plants, 7 pots

3ft vines, producing flowers and fruit

Melon

8 plants

2ft vines, no flowers

Slow growth.

Peppers

9 pots, 23 plants

8 inches, vegetative

Slow growth

Tomatoes

39 pots, 57 plants

6in-48in tall, some flowering

Transplanted 05Jan2018

Do we need this many tomato plants?

Radish

1 pot, three plants

Vegetative, 1ft tall

Radish sprouts

6 sq ft

Seedling, cotyledons

Planted 04Jan2018

Seedlings should be harvested around 17Jan2018.

Swiss Chard

1 starter container

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Scallions

5 starter containers

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Onion

8 starter containers

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Broccoli

1 starter container

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Carrot

6 starter containers,

4 pots

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Lettuce, Romaine

1 starter container,

1 ft row

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Lettuce, Red Leaf

1 starter container,

1 ft row

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson

2 starter containers,

1 ft row

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Lettuce, sprouts misc.

2 sq ft

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Lettuce, Bibb

1 sq ft

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Mustard

1 pot

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Quinoa, Red Sprouting

2 sq ft

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Zennia

1 pot

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 06Jan2018

Arugula

2 starter containers,

2 ft row

Seeds, no emergence

Planted 04Jan2018

Daily water usage for crops: 5 gallons

Time(s) of watering for crops: 05:30PM

Research observations: Sprayed moringa experiment with moringa extract as directed. Microgreen sprouts are growing well.

Changes to research plants: None.

Aquaponics: Not in use.

Narrative: The larger tomato plants were starting to lean over, so I used all of the cages available to support as many plants as possible. The rest of the tomatoes will need cages soon, as will the vining cucumbers. The cucumber plants have already started climbing the shade cloth and lighting cables in their quest to take over.

To maximize the efficiency of the Green Hab, it is important to select crops that are suited to greenhouse production and to space out plantings of crops to ensure steady yields. For future Green Hab officers, I would recommend against planting things like melons that can require up to 75 sq ft per plant and have a 10 ft long tap root that is not easily accommodated in a pot. The 50+ tomato plants seem to have been planted at the same time, which means that they will start yielding at the same time. Hopefully the crew on rotation can freeze some tomato sauce for future crews to use.

To bring more crop variety to the Green Hab, I planted carrots, onions, broccoli, scallion, three varieties of lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, quinoa, and mustard. These were the seeds available, but many are also fast growing crops that have high yields in a greenhouse environment. I used the oldest seed packets, and will replant with newer seed if nothing grows. If future officers continue plantings every two weeks, then there should be a bountiful and regular harvest for every crew.

Support/supplies needed: 50 more tomato cages will be needed to support all of the tomatoes and cucumbers currently growing in the greenhouse. All of the cages we have are in use.

Sol Summary – January 6th





Crew 186 Sol 6 Summary Report 06JAN2018

Sol 6

Summary Title: The Shared Mythos of Mars

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: Enjoying our first day of light duty and the chance to catch up on our individual work.

Sol Activity Summary: As grad students, soon to be grad students or recently escaped grad students, one of our greatest pleasures is to sleep in. And today we did just that, in celebration of reaching the midpoint of our 13 sol mission. We woke on our own schedule, and enjoyed a brunch of scrambled eggs and french toast. We recommend a new standing policy be implemented on Mars missions: AHTBMR, aka, “Always Have The Bread Maker Running”.

A passing comment about Game of Thrones (which GreenHab officer Mark Gee had finished reading that morning) became an engaging discussion about authorial intent and the discernment of canon in fictional universes, over the course of 2 hours spanned such topics as the Star Wars Holiday Special, Ender’s Game, the Bible, and literary theorist Roland Barthes’ essay “Death of the Author”. In the course of the discussion, I was reminded of a remarkable question that only future Mars colonization will answer: How will future Martians view our current stories about Mars and the people who live there? Will characters like John Carter, Sax Russell, Rebecca Sherman, Mark Watney and Bobbie Draper become modern myths to the new Martians? The exploration of Mars is the first instance of humans building a culture on top of a preexisting shared mythology in fiction. Will future Martians adopt that existing mythology as their own, or will they decide to make unto themselves a new one?

We spent the rest of day relaxing around the hab, tending to our own experiments in the science dome and in GreenHab, and driving the NorCal Mars Society Rover around the hab (the rover was confronted by a 4 legged alien that retreated as soon as the rover advanced towards them. Photo of it is in the journalist report, awaiting identification). After sunset, sleet started to fall, and we settled in for a nice dinner and game night, featuring a custom card game designed for our mission by our Crew Journalist, Justin Mansell. The rules of “Mars Quest” are coming in a separate email if you want to follow along at home!

Look Ahead Plan: The sleet has made the ground icy around the hab, and even though the weather for tomorrow is forecasted to be clear, we won’t do an EVA if the ground is icy. But if conditions permit, we plan to revisit the region North East of Maxwell Montes that we visited on EVA 3, as we believe we have found a walking route on the topo maps that would allow us to enter the mouth of the canyon from the south, and access the stratified layers we could previously only photograph from the canyon’s west rim.

Anomalies in work: None (generator and water consumption issues believed to be resolved).

Weather: 2C, light sleet, overcast

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: None.

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

Support Requested: None

Journalist Report – January 6th

[Sol 6] [Astronaut’s Day Off]

Today was a cold and gloomy day. Even if this wasn’t our day off, I reckon that the crew would have been less than enthusiastic about any EVAs. But the weather has been a perfect excuse for a slow day around the hab.

Our commander, Max Fagin, allowed the crew to sleep in past the usual wake-up time of 7:30 am. Instead of an early breakfast, he cooked us a brunch of French toast and scrambled eggs. The crew was skeptical of the powdered and freeze-dried eggs at first, but warmed up to the taste after a few bites.

Members of the team have since spent the day tending to odds and ends for our various experiments. A sprinkling of tenuous Martian snow dusted the landscape in the late afternoon and has served to make the metallic bulkheads and thick pressure doors of our habitat feel almost cozy. Tonight our executive officer, Kshitij Mall, will treat the crew to a dinner of noodles and fish. Afterwards the crew will relax over a cooperative Mars-themed card game written by myself during today’s free time.

All in all, though the day has been slow, it is a welcome break before we continue with our second EVA to the distant Maxwell Montes tomorrow.

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist