MDRS Astronomy Team Refit – Sol 1




Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Jacob Wentzel

Adam Biel



The five of us arrived in Hanksville around 3:30 PM.  We had an early dinner, since we didn’t want to go back to town once we reached MDRS. There is a lot of smoke in the sky, and the temperature is 100 degrees; it’s almost paradise, but I was hoping for some clear skies.

We arrived at the Mars hab and got things moved in fairly quickly. I got the swamp cooler working and we filled the tank upstairs with water.  Food items were stored, and I opened the observatory dome remotely.  Everything is working fine.  Adam Jones had the task of setting up the Davis Weather Station while I worked with the Bloomsky all sky camera.  Adam installed the weather software and got the unit to connect.  However the rebar stakes to anchor the pier into the ground are flat and not edged and so we couldn’t get them deep enough.  We’ll have to take them into town tomorrow to see if we can get them sharpened.  So we couldn’t finish the install and brought the weather station in for the night. The other Adam and Jacob are videographers and both of them were taking all sorts of shots.  I will say one thing.  The Astronomy Refit 2018 will be very well documented.

During all this the power went out.  The system is run by solar.  I checked the status and it showed that the batteries were at 77%. The system is supposed to shut off around there, but it was only on for 2 hours.

I turned on the generator and we were back in business.  We’ll, at least for about two hours until the generator shut off!  The large fuel drum showed slightly less than half a tank, no issue there.  Checked the oil and it was fine.  There was a little steam and the radiator was hot.  Out of coolant?  Too hot to open.  Sent an email out to MDRS apprising them of the situation, however with the internet down I doubt I’ll get a response until tomorrow.

So I gathered the Crew and explained the situation.  It’s getting dark, there are clouds and the winds are picking up.  There are snacks but no dinner.  No showers tonight either, and we’re going to sleep outside; too hot inside. Gary and Jacob are on cots.  The two Adams are on the ground.  And for myself… I’m in a hammock.

I lay here looking skyward seeing huge dark voids with a splattering of stars in odd arrangements.  Gary says he felt a drop of rain.  I’m not worried.  Mars is shining brightly through the haze, and that’s a good omen.  We had our snafu for this mission. Tomorrow is going to be an amazing day.

-Peter Detterline



Generator issue.  Solar system should restore some power tomorrow.  We need the generator working.

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