Commander Report – March 5th

Hello Capcom,

Here is today’s Commander Report:

Crew 189 Commander Report 05Mar2018

Sol 15

We started today the last straight line of simulation after a needed day off. We were a bit slow in the morning, struggling to wake up or making last minutes adjustments on experiments before the EVA, so that we ended up leaving the Hab late.

This EVA was another one of the type you do not really want to do, but that ends up being instructive. Almost everything didn’t go as planned: we started late, discovered that both the MegaARES and the LOAC were draining their batteries way faster than expected for an unknown reason, so that we will need to replace both of them, which is impossible as we only have one more. We launched the data copy on the MegaARES and went back to the Hab.

It was then time for Benoit’s experiment to fail: its GPS chip couldn’t find a satellite to connect to. After a long pause during which we restarted it a few times, we decided to head to Hab View Point anyway. The funny thing was that we were carrying inflated balloons all this time, that were supposed to mark specific locations on the field to test the guidance system. It allowed us to shoot unusual photos in which you can see a Martian child carrying balloons in spacesuit over the MDRS!

At the same time, my EVA logger App started to fail too, as I was only able to hear half of the sounds it was supposed to emit. The good thing is that after all the tries I did, I might have found a pattern in the errors giving me a lead on the way to fix it. To end up this EVA properly, we discovered once arrived at Pooh’s Corner that the LOAC power system wasn’t working anymore (for the 4th time if I get the right count…). This time, we headed back to the Hab. But doing so, we didn’t attach a battery properly to an ATV, resulting in it falling 30 meters before arrival after a bump. It started leaking, and we managed to confine it quickly before heading back. This shouldn’t have consequences as the third battery was used for rotations, and we will now only use one charge more for each instrument before the end of the mission.

After all these sad events, we went back on track due to a very good meal, starting by a fresh salad harvested the day before. The afternoon was less challenging: human factors experiments, astronomy, work on experiments, rotation video, VR filming, reports, cooking. All this put together was enough to keep all of us busy. I enjoyed the VR filming as the gear was very nice to use. I hope I didn’t do too bad as it was the first time I ever shot videos using such a video camera. Tomorrow will be another special day as a French national television team will spend the day with us. Let’s hope this goes as well as it did on Saturday!