Crew 221, MDRS Sol 6
Crew 221 Commander Report 08FEB-2020
Author: Maria Grulich, Commander
Title: First problems to solve
Yesterday, during dinner, the crew 221 Earth2Mars realized that when the oven is on, there is a clear smell of propane more than usual. It was immediately reported to mission support during the comms window. At all times the crew was safe, as it was clear that when the oven is off, no propane gas could be smelled. This morning, after half the team went out for EVA, crew commander M.Grulich together with mission support started to investigate the source of the propane issue. It took a bit of time to read through the manual and check the oven, but after one hour the hypothesis was made that probably the oven was not configured to be used for propane gas. Per default the oven comes from the manufacturer to be used with natural gas instead of propane. In order to change this several grooves and an orifice spud on the stove and oven had to be replaced.
Mission support was very helpful, in supporting the theory and immediately organized support, such that in the afternoon, the oven was fixed with the help of the team. It was identified that the hypothesis was correct and after exchanging the parts, the gas issue seems to be solved. No propane smell can be detected now and also the gas detector was clear and the crew’s air quality detector improved significantly.
Besides this real issue, the team managed to do some science in the science dome, Greenhab and RAM.
The EVA team had some mishaps finding stream bed connector and they reported that the walk took more than 20 min as the soil was harder to walk on than expected. That resulted in a tired team that did not manage to explore the chasma as deep as they were planning on.
The team is in good shape and the cultural nights really add to the mission. We are making good progress on the projects; we are just not patient enough to see the results of the microbiology and ISRU plant experiments.