Sol Summary – Jun 10th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 8, June 10th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas

Narrative:

Last night was not the greatest for observing, so some of us were sporadically sleeping in hopes of getting good images. Becker got some gorgeous shots of the moon, but that was the extent of the night. It was too cloudy for anything else.

Thomas left early this morning and for the rest of us, our last day was a clean-up / maintenance day. Armstrong and I got one last use in of the solar scope to test it and got our images processed. Later in the day, while Armstrong helped Detterline with getting dirt and a flagstone stair around the Musk Observatory, I was helping Becker with breaking down his telescope and getting gear into the Jeep for tomorrow. Becker also got the images of the propane tank processed and sent out and Detterline also continued work on the video project.

Today was also Becker’s birthday, so we celebrated a bit. We took a trip to the local rock shop before having dinner and heading out to Goblin National Park.

Tonight, there will be two different imaging cycles. Armstrong and Becker will be heading out earlier this evening to image with the moon. Detterline will be heading out early in the morning to image without the moon. I personally don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I might go to bed early so I can be up early and get my last few things packed up and squared away.

We leave Mars tomorrow morning at hopefully 10 am at the latest. Since this is my last entry for this crew, I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has joined us here, both as crew and guest. If it weren’t for all of you, this trip would not have been as successful as it was. Becker and Detterline, thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity. It truly means the world to me.

Accomplished:

· Put stone and rock around the Musk Observatory.

· Gary propane tank pics for VR project

· Peyton and Cole solar imaging

· Worked on Video project. Needs power supply, didn’t set them up.

Power:

Soc = 90%

Problems:

None

Extra Notes:

Happy Birthday, Gary, you old space dog!

Pictures:

Picture 1 was taken by Gary Becker, an image taken of the robotic observatory last night. Pictures 2 and 3 were taken by Peyton Zankel of the dirt and new flagstone step put around the Musk Observatory.

Sol Summary – Jun 9th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 7, June 9th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas

Narrative:

Last night’s star party went off without a hitch, although a bit cold. Once the moon was behind the hills, the stars covered the skies. It was so nice to share this love of space and the stars with others. Made being out in the cold and wind worth it. Detterline and Thomas stayed out for longer and took a single image of the Dumbbell Nebulae with the Robotic Observatory that lasted 10 minutes. Thomas wanted to see what the tracking was like to check the quality of the mount. The attached picture is gorgeous. If the weather cooperates with us, they want to try it again tonight for 15 and 20 minutes.

Today was a sort of maintenance day. We got the crack through the Musk Observatory filled, as well as a crack forming on the back-airlock porch. Detterline and Thomas took the desiccant out of the telescope cameras and baked them at 240⁰ F for 2 hours to re-energize the material. This will be part of the maintenance routine from here on out.

Thomas also got some work done in the Robotic
Observatory today. He discussed some new telescope routines including a new park position for the telescope, and the rationale for why the telescope needs a 30⁰ cut off rather than a 20⁰ one, which is what Detterline was hoping for. This means that you can’t image anything lower than 30⁰.

Armstrong, Becker, Thomas, and I also took a short trip to the local dinosaur dig while Detterline worked on the training video. While it was technically closed today, they were still kind enough to give us a quick look around. It was nice to see what was going on in what is sort of our own backyard. We got to see a clump of large bones they had been working on and may soon be moving off to their museum.

Today was not perfect, though. The internet has been going in and out all day, which makes our work more difficult. Detterline and Thomas also tried to get the video cameras working, but with no luck. They are still working on it, but with Thomas leaving tomorrow and the rest of us leaving Tuesday morning, we aren’t sure if we’ll be able to get them operational.

Accomplished:

Poured concrete in cracks in Musk and Hab

10 minute exposure of Dumbbell Nebula

Detterline finished recording training videos for the Musk Observatory

Desiccant was dried out

Power:

Soc = 87%

Problems:

Internet going in and out all day

Could not get cameras operational

Pictures:

Pictures 1, 2, and 3 are taken by Peyton Zankel. The first is of Peter Detterline hard at work filling the crack inside the Must Observatory. The second and third are of repairs to the Musk Observatory. Pictures 4 and 5 were taken by Peter Detterline. The first is his 10 minute exposure of the Dumbbell Nebula, and the second is a gorgeous picture from last night’s star party.

Sol Summary – Jun 8th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 6, June 8th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas

Narrative:

Last night was too cloudy to do any observing and this evening has brought wind.

Today, we had a rather busy day. This morning, we prepared the Musk Observatory for concrete by removing the caulking we just put in. That was a chore and a half to do since it wasn’t even fully set yet. During this, we also got to play host to a local singer Rod, whom we had the chance of meeting yesterday at dinner. We gave him a tour of the Hab and its surrounding buildings, as well as showing him the capabilities of the solar scope. Armstrong and I got an image of the sun processed during this time to show him how we process. This was great practice for us and helped Detterline with perfecting his new manual.

Armstrong, Detterline, and I went to Green River today to make sure we had the right concrete for the Musk. During this, Becker stayed behind to work on taking pictures for the VR project. Also, while we were gone, Scott and Eric arrived to pick up the spacesuits, and Thomas worked on the robotic observatory.

Detterline also finished up the video for solar imaging and we also started work on installing video cameras around the site.

Tonight will be a bit of a star party, so long as the weather holds. Scott, Eric, and Rod will be joining us tonight to observe the stars and potentially use the scope we have set up. While the sky is clear, the wind is starting to blow. Hopefully we do not have to cut our night short like last night.

Accomplished:

Solar Imaging and processing

Video made of solar imaging

Pulled grout out of the crack in the Musk Observatory

Ed worked in the Robotic Observatory with the 10 Micron mount. Replaced an antenna on the computer.

Worked on setting up the video camera system

Gary took pictures for the Mars VR project.

Power:

Soc = 96%

Problems:

Will be pouring concrete mix into the crack tomorrow.

Pictures:

Picture 1 was processed by Peyton Zankel and Cole Armstrong. Original pictures taken by Peter Detterline. Picture 2 was taken by Peyton Zankel of Peter Detterline viewing through the solar scope.

Sol Summary – Jun 7th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 5, June 7th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas

Narrative:

Last night Detterline, Becker and Thomas aligned both hand controls (primary and the spare) in the Musk Observatory. The solar telescope was replaced with a Celestron 8″ so an alignment procedure could be done at night with the stars. The last time the Musk Observatory was used at night was over 2 years ago. The hand controls were tested in the morning by Detterline, and the alignment for both are perfect.

They also went to the Robotic telescope and centered the focus for the Celestron 14″ The night was too cloudy for any observing.

An impressive rain storm dumped a lot of water in a short period of time accompanied by lightning and thunder. Detterline is proud to say that after the storm, the interior of the Musk Observatory and the MDRS Robotic Observatory were perfectly dry. So the new caulking applied just days ago, worked well. Last year they had an issue where water seeped inside the Robotic Observatory and destroyed an adapter component of the weather station.

Today was the most boring day on Mars. Due to high winds, there was pretty much nothing we could do. Armstrong continued to perfect his processing skills, Detterline left with Thomas to go get concrete to fix the pad for the Musk, and Detterline also worked on the training videos.

We went out for dinner and enjoyed some live music. It’s always nice to get a little break from Hab life. Tomorrow should be more exciting due to a few visitors coming in and a clear night. Tonight though, we will have another early night due to cloudy skies. They should clear between 12-3 am, so maybe we might have some images to process tomorrow. Hopefully, we wake up early enough to make ourselves human before our guests arrive.

Accomplished:

We decided to get concrete mix rather than caulk due to the size of the crack and try to make something a bit more permanent. A trip to Green River secured the supplies needed, but the horrendous winds won’t allow an observatory to open and certainly not allow opening a bag of concrete mix.

The Musk Solar Observatory Guide is now complete and on the MDRS Observatories Training site, and Astronomy Laptop. Also on the laptop are the first of a series of training videos. The MDRS Observatories training website is updated, but video links will be added once Detterline returns home.

Power:

Soc = 96%

Problems:

Got the concrete, but it was too windy to use it.

Pictures:

Picture 1 was provided by Peter Detterline of Ed Thomas working in the Solar Observatory last night

Sol Summary – Jun 6th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 4, June 6th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas

Narrative:

Today got off to a late start at the Hab today. We were out most of the night enjoying the clear, star-filled skies while we had the chance to. Armstrong got his start in astrophotography and I got to knock the rust off my hand-controller skills. It was absolutely stunning.

When we finally got started for the day, Detterline gave Armstrong and me a lesson on image processing. I processed my first colored image using my shots of the Leo Trio taken from the robotic observatory. It was certainly an experience, that’s for sure. Armstrong already had an idea of what to do, so when I left with Becker and Detterline to help clean the solar observatory, he stayed behind to work on making the process to produce cleaner images.

The solar observatory was in need of some maintenance. The crack in the concrete slab has widened considerably since last year. We did not have enough caulk to completely fill the crack. We will need to buy more concrete caulk and we need to get stone for the outside of the building to replace what has eroded away. Other than that, the rest was basic maintenance. The dome rail was cleaned and so was the scope and the rest of the observatory got a good wipe down.

Ed Thomas has also joined us today. He is the owner of Deep Space Products and the individual responsible for selection and installation of the key components of the robotic observatory. Thomas will be looking over the system in the next few days and working to solve some minor issues.

Due to earlier rain, we are not completely sure about how tonight will go for observing. We always hope for clear, beautiful skies, but it could just as well be an early night if the clouds do not cooperate with us.

Accomplished:

Musk Observatory

· cleaned walls, floor, mount, optics, and made some minor fixes,

· tested and calibrated the hand control and its spare.

· solar imaging

Training Videos

Cole solved some sound problems so we can start making training videos for the crews on using the telescopes and processing techniques.

Power:

Soc = 90% @ 21:00

Problems:

The focus problem with the MDRS-WF is solved. Although some of the camera screws were too loose and the camera turned during one exposure. Easy fix. Ed will double check it tomorrow.
Crack in Musk Observatory concrete. Looking into using quickrete to fill in the crack rather than caulk, but stone will still be needed outside around the concrete, preferably before winter returns. If the crack continues to widen, the building will become out of round and the dome will not be able to rotate. We’ve already noticed some scraping of the wheels as it rotates.

Pictures:

Picture 1 was taken by Peter Detterline of Peyton Zankel and Gary Becker cleaning the Musk Observatory. Picture 2 is also provided by Peter Detterline of the group of us exploring the night sky last night. Picture 3 is of Peyton’s first attempt at color imaging: the Leo Trio. Picture 4 is Detterline caulking the concrete crack in the Musk Observtaory. This is an image taken by Gary A. Becker. Gary also took the image of Detterline next to the dirty telescope corrector plate at the Robotic Observatory. Yes, it’s very clean now!

Sol Summary – Jun 5th

SOL 3 June 5th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Power: Soc = 88% at 22:40 We will keep tabs and turn the generator on if it reaches 75%.

After last night’s observing, today became a new day of work. Last night’s observations through the robotic telescope produced some great images, but there was a focus issue and a mount error during the night.

This morning, Armstrong and I took the time to practice more with the solar scope and go through the steps of processing what we found. It was definitely a more successful day since now we had more of an idea of what to do. While we were doing our work, Becker and Detterline were working on theirs; maintaining the robotic observatory. The optics and equipment were cleaned, the seams were caulked, and the walls and floor got a good wipe down. Tomorrow, the solar observatory will get the same treatment.

This evening we took a trip to Capitol Reef to get our minds off Mars for a while and go see the petroglyphs. Many laughs were had there and over dinner at a nearby restaurant. We returned at about 22:45. Tonight we have another night of observation, and the sky is so clear. It will be perfect for watching the night sky with both the naked eye and hopefully the robotic observatory. So far, she is cooperating with us, and we hope she will continue to. If not, at least we have a pretty view.

Accomplished:

Zankel and Armstrong used the Solar Observatory
Becker and Detterline cleaned Robotic Observatory

Cleaned optics

Cleaned equipment

Caulked seams

Wiped down walls and floors

Problems: Focus issue with the MDRS-WF. Detterline will be working with that tonight, and is confident it will be fixed quickly.

Pictures:

First and third pictures provided by Peter Detterline. The first is of Peyton Zankel and Cole Armstrong working in the Solar Observatory and the third is of Cole Armstrong last night under the clear sky. The second picture is provided by Cole Armstrong of Peter Detterline and Gary Becker cleaning the Robotic Observatory.

Sol Summary – Jun 4th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 2, June 4th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Narrative: Slower day at the Hab. Armstrong and I took a brief hike around the site before learning how to use the Musk Observatory. We went in alone so that the new user manual could be tested and we could each get a feel for it. Becker and Detterline worked on other projects today. Becker and Armstrong set up a new Bloomsky camera, and set up Becker’s telescope. Detterline and Jones fixed the weather station and replaced the batteries in the robotic observatory. Detterline also organized the robotic observatory.

Accomplished:

Zankel and Armstrong took and processed their first solar images. See attachment.

Cables were changed in the Musk observatory for the new camera.

Adam Jones got the Davis weather station working with the computer in the robotic observatory. We now have a back-up weather station again.

Bloomsky is operating, see attachment.

Organized the robotic observatory.

Gary set up telescope mount for observing.

Power:

SOC = 94% at 8 PM

Problems:

An antenna broke off the robotic observatory computer; a replacement part is being brought up by Ed Thomas in a few days.

Pictures:

“Sky Image” is from the Bloomsky camera. “Jones fixing the weather” is of Adam Jones working in the observatory, courteously provided by Peter Detterline. “SUN” is a solar image by Cole Armstrong with his use of the Musk Observatory. Finally, “Detterline with the Robotic Telescope” was taken by Adam Jones as they examined the equipment.

Sol Summary – Jun 3rd

Astronomy Refit Crew

Sol 1

June 3rd, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Power: Soc = 76%

Generator on at 22:18

My name is Peyton Zankel and I will be writing the narrative for the Astronomy Refit this week. I am a junior at Moravian College and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Today at approximately 15:00 Peter Detterline, Gary Becker, Cole Armstrong, and myself arrived on site. Shannon Ruppert gave us a short tour of the facility. After unloading our gear and personal items, Armstrong and I moved into our staterooms before taking a short walk around the site. During this time, Becker and Detterline went into town to collect water for the tanks. After their return, we drove the rovers into town for storage in the off season. We grabbed dinner before we returned to the habitat. We were joined by Adam Jones around 21:00. Armstrong and I called it a night. Becker and Detterline attended to their own projects during the evening.

Accomplished: Moved four rovers to Hanksville

Curiosity: 102.6 Hours 89%

Sprit: 97.7 Hours 92%

Opportunity: 63.8 hours 97%

Sojourner: 61.4 hours 92%

Problems: N/A

Pictures: Picture 1 is of Peyton Zankel’s stateroom, and Picture 2 is of the Habitat during today’s walk. Both pictures were taken by Peyton Zankel.

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 1 – June 3rd

Astronomy Refit Crew

Sol 1

June 3rd, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Power: Soc = 76%

Generator on at 22:18

My name is Peyton Zankel and I will be writing the narrative for the Astronomy Refit this week. I am a junior at Moravian College and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Today at approximately 15:00 Peter Detterline, Gary Becker, Cole Armstrong, and myself arrived on site. Shannon Ruppert gave us a short tour of the facility. After unloading our gear and personal items, Armstrong and I moved into our staterooms before taking a short walk around the site. During this time, Becker and Detterline went into town to collect water for the tanks. After their return, we drove the rovers into town for storage in the off season. We grabbed dinner before we returned to the habitat. We were joined by Adam Jones around 21:00. Armstrong and I called it a night. Becker and Detterline attended to their own projects during the evening.

Accomplished: Moved four rovers to Hanksville

Curiosity: 102.6 Hours 89%

Sprit: 97.7 Hours 92%

Opportunity: 63.8 hours 97%

Sojourner: 61.4 hours 92%

Problems: N/A

Pictures: Picture 1 is of Peyton Zankel’s stateroom, and Picture 2 is of the Habitat during today’s walk. Both pictures were taken by Peyton Zankel.