[title Commander Report – December 04th]
Crew 216 Commander Report 04-DEC-2019
Summary Title: High and Low
Author: Marc Levesque
When you walk away from the Hab, you are always treated to something special. The rocks, soils, shapes, colors, and sun angle form a unique optical combination no matter where you look. The people who chose the MDRS location nailed it for an analog Martian landscape. Walking around in an EVA suit adds to this feeling that you truly are on a different planet. Today’s trip to the summit of Phobos Peak for Evgenia’s filming and Michael’s drone footage once again reinforced how special it is to be here at MDRS and participate as a crew in this environment. After decompressing from this high, we then prepared for our attempt to contact the International Space Station via amateur radio. The ISS orbital schedule had it passing directly overhead at 1315 for 10 minutes. After we set up my vehicle’s mobile radio as a cross-band repeater, we returned to the Hab to attempt the contact. We knew it would be a very long shot, as there were too many variables that had to come together to make it happen. Most crucial of all was that an astronaut had to be listening, which is something they do only on an occasional basis unless a contact is set up months in advance through a formal program. The crew was pretty excited by the prospect, however, and while we were disappointed that no contact was made, all felt the effort worthwhile. From a ham’s perspective, it was a great technical exercise.