Journalist Report – March 9th

Crew 223 Journalist Report 09Mar2020
Author: Clément Plagne, Crew Journalist
Sol 8: Is there life on Mars ?

For all intents and purposes, we’re on Mars. Everything reasonably possible is done to make the MDRS feel like a real Martian base. We have protocols for everything, from safety communications for moving from place to place to knowing exactly how many grams of plants were harvested on a given day. We have boring powdered food, that tests our culinary creativity on the daily. We have beautiful, multicoloured, but barren landscapes that span as far as the eye can see. We have limited water, and virtually no outside air to breathe. We also have the iffy internet one might expect from a base several astronomical units away from Earth. All in all, it certainly doesn’t feel like home.

Yet, in some small ways, it still inevitably is. The MDRS is in the desert, and it is one dry place, but we’re still on Earth, and there’s some water out there. And where there is water, there is life. On our many times out, we saw plants or animal tracks frequently. We get the occasional insect hanging around in the Hab every so often. And, on lucky days like yesterday, we get to see live animals, such as the antelope we witnessed graciously running as we rode on our rovers. It’s funny to think that this was the first new vertebrate the four of us saw in a whole week. When you come to such an arid place and find, when looking a little harder, that some life is still thriving, it makes you think about how some form of life could have very well developed on Mars when conditions were better.

Sadly, nature is never left alone by humans. There’s the big scientific research base in the middle of nowhere, of course, but traces of human life are plenty elsewhere when you look for them. Every EVA team comes back with a plastic bag, a piece of paper or even a huge plastic box found in the field, littered and waiting an eternity to decompose. We simply can’t keep any place clean.

We’re some of the closest things to real Martian explorers, despite the few things in our ways. From here, things are exciting: the bold exploration and the fascinating science make the days go by fast. But it’s no great place to live, and it shouldn’t be. Comfort is far from the priority, and that’s expected. We can hope to have a Martian colony in the coming decades, but it’s hopeless to think life will be as easy as it ever was on Earth. Sustainable human life on another planet is an exciting step forward, but it’ll never replace living where we evolved to be. There’s no place quite like home, and we realise it all the time here at MDRS. We can hope for the first words from the surface of Mars to be “Keep home clean while we’re away, there’s no better place to stay”.

Creative Report – March 9th

CREW 223 – 08/03/2020 Art Report – Aurélien Mure

What a hard job for a scientist/engineer like me to let the hidden artist take some space.

Photography can be a good bridge from technicality to art. I have started it a few months ago and it is really pleasant to see my progress. The technical aspect of photography is the first barrier but not too hard for me, considering my profile. Digging into art, personality and inspiration is a much harder task. I started with classical photos, wide angle, low modification in post treatment. MDRS campus is an amazing field of improvement for a beginner. The interesting subjects are so numerous that at some point I feel inspired to capture the essence of a scene.

To start with technical details, I use an old Canon EOS 1100D. I have a basic 18-55mm lens and a zoom. I like to work on deep pictures with multiple angles. That is why I use a 75/300mm zoom lens. I like how it emphasizes the details of an object like here with a dark picture of our battery test for the suits. I was working with Luc on the suits for a while and taking time to play with lights during the test charging phase helped me to enjoy the moment shared with Luc.

In EVA, it is not easy to frame the objects as I do not have always a direct view in my pointer. That is why well framed pictures are rare and then rewarding.

It’s hard not to be focused at 100% on moving moments and take time to think about the camera.

I am not satisfied with the lights and color results of the picture but I like the way it underlines the feelings of the situation as 222 and 223 prepared the mission all together, as a group of 14 friends instead of two 7 members crews.

In contrast to unveil the reality, photography can create the illusion, can make people think in front of a picture. Looks like a satellite view of dunes but in fact the whole picture covers less than 50x50cm. Once the reality fades away, the door is opened for the imaginary to give life to objects.

I did not notice at the first sight the shape of a turtle in the rock and it is through the camera that I saw it. I chose the best angle to make this turtle live and the result is satisfying.

I learned how to be ready, to react and observe. I wanted to show respect to the nature as I have to introduce to the public the beauty and fragility of the campus biodiversity without disturbing it. I cannot ask an antelope to pose for me and I cannot move a plant if the light configuration is not optimal.

Taking picture can be seen from the outside as a risk not to enjoy the moment, not to be here at 100%. But I truly disagree, it is a way both to feel things and to think beyond what we see. It makes me able to be focused on the scene, to take a step back on what I am currently experiencing and to dive deep into imagination and interpretation. I love to enhance the poor but amazing biodiversity of the campus.

I quickly realized that my best pictures, or the ones I prefer are those who play with alignment and geometry. For my first EVA I captured the alignment of the suits, which is satisfying for the eyes. I tried to take interesting angles, to find the hidden alignments and to play with perspective. It is helping me focusing in EVA, staying alert. I use LightRoom to work on the pictures to enhance the colors or the light. I try not to use it too much not to modify the experience I am living.

This is not something I would have done with my 206 mission, but I am truly happy to try a creative report. It made me think about my way of taking picture and I helped me defining my one style. I did not notice that I was found of geometrical alignment before writing this down. In a context of confinement, opening my mind out of the daily routine to take a step back on our experience here.

Jérémy, my commander at that time gave me the will to start photography, and I want to thank him warmly for that.

Operations Report – March 9th

Crew 223 Operations Report 09/03/2020
SOL: 8

Name of person filing report: Luc FORTIN

Non-nominal systems: Nothing to report

Notes on non-nominal systems: Nothing to report

Sunday generator:

Off at 7:30am

On at 9:48pm SOC was 85%

Monday generator:

Off at 6:30am

On at 9:00pm SOC was XX%

Diesel Reading – 68%

Station Propane Reading – 74%

Ethanol Free Gasoline – 5.5 gallons

Water (loft tank): 47 gallons

Water Meter: 149762.99 units

Water (static tank) – 265 gallons

Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Water in GreenHab – 123.6 gallons

Water in ScienceDome: 0 gallons

Toilet tank emptied: yes

Perseverance rover used: yes

Hours: 151.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 58%

Currently charging: yes

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR

Hours: Nothing to report

Beginning charge: Nothing to report

Ending charge: Nothing to report

Currently charging: Nothing to report

Spirit rover: no

Hours: 134.1

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: moved from campus to the shop to repair the brakes.

Hours: Nothing to report

Beginning charge: Nothing to report

Ending charge: Nothing to report

Currently charging: Nothing to report

Curiosity rover used: no

Hours: 139.5

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: yes

Notes on rovers: Nothing to report

ATV’s Used: yes (Honda, 1, 2 and 3)

Reason for use: ATVs 2 and 3 used during the EVA. Same trouble as yesterday for the Honda ATV. I checked the voltage of its battery during the engineer EVA, it was 11.3V. Shannon, should I try to charge the battery in the RAM ?

Oil Added? no

ATV Fuel Used: ~20%

Hours the ATVs were Used today: 70 minutes

Notes on ATVs: Nothing to report.

HabCar used and why, where? The HabCar is parked at the MDRS Campus.

CrewCar used and why, where? The CrewCar is in Grand Junction.

General notes and comments: Nothing to report

Summary of internet: All ok.

Summary of suits and radios: Suits 7, 8, 9, 10 were used during the EVA.

Summary of Hab operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of RAM operations: Work on our student spacesuit, the one of Valentin Prudhomme (crew 222).

Summary of any observatory issues: Nothing to report

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: Nothing to report

EVA Report – March 9th

Crew 223 EVA Report 09-03-2020

EVA # 8

Author: Florian Delpech (Astronomer)

Purpose of EVA: Changing the batteries for MegaARES and LOAC. Exploring Copernicus Hwy

Start time: 08:52 AM

End time: 12:00 PM

Narrative: This EVA was aimed to change the batteries of LOAC and MegaARES and to explore Copernicus. We did not manage to start the Honda and the ATV 1 so we took Perseverance and two ATVs. We lost time because we went the wrong way two times but we finally arrived at our destination. The places were very beautiful to explore and everyone came back safe.

Destination: MegaARES and LOAC base as well as Copernicus Hwy 1574

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS): 12S0518494-4250679 and 12S0516200-4255000.

EVA Participants: Florian Delpech (EVA Leader, Astronomer), Blandine Gorce

(Health and Safety Officer), Luc Fortin (Engineer), Valentin Bellemin-Laponnaz (GreenHab Officer)

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Cow Dung Road, Brahe Hwy 1575, Copernicus Hwy 1574

Mode of travel: Driving (2 ATVs and 1 rover) and walking

Vehicles used (If applicable): ATVs 1, 2 and Perseverance

Greenhab Report – March 9th

Crew 223 GreenHab Report – 08-03-2020 GreenHab Officer: Valentin BELLEMIN-LAPONNAZ

Environmental control: Ambient with Door open

Average temperature: 23°C

Low temperature: 20°C
High temperature: 26°C

Hours of supplemental light: 4 hours (from 9P.M to 1 a.m.)

Daily water usage for crops: 11.6 gallons

Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes: 0 gallon

Water in Blue Tank— 123.6 gallons

Time(s) of watering for crops: 2

Changes to crops: Today, we planted a whole bunch of new plants : potatoes (from Shannon), spinach, green radish and wild rocket.

Narrative: This morning, Aurelien MURE took care of the GreenHab, as I were on an EVA. He watered everything and planted many things. First, he planted potatoes from Shannon, because she came to the greenhouse and asked him to do it. Our dear GreenHab intern had to replant zucchini as they were in pots dedicated to potatoes. He also planted spinach, radish and wild rocket. For lunch, I harvested basil to make some pasta sauce. This afternoon, I carried out the experiment Music For Plants. Nothing to report for the moment.

Harvest: 15g Basil

Support/supplies needed: NA

Sol Summary – March 9th

Crew 223 Sol Summary Report 09-03-2020

Sol: 8 Summary Title: Ambitious EVA

Author’s name: Aurélien Mure – Crew Commander

Mission Status: Science is running

Sol Activity Summary:

Let’s go back to normal. Alarm at 6:45 and sport session at 7:00. After a rest day, it is difficult to warm up! After the common breakfast, the EVA team prepared itself. They chose to go to Copernicus with the ATV’s. First problem, two of them refused to start. They had trouble with fixing the batteries to the ATV’s. They decided to go with Persy to the LOAC and MegaAres.

It was time to clean the hab for us inside and to work on the greenhab.

The afternoon was dedicated to science work. The language experiment has changed for this week and we use Keep talking and nobody explodes. This cooperative game was new and fun.

Look Ahead Plan: Start well the second week

Anomalies in work: None.

Weather: cloudy,-2°C at 7:00am, 6°C at 11:00am

Crew Physical Status: All crew members safe and sound.

EVA: LOAC and MegaAres batteries changed

Reports to be filed: Journalist report, Operations report, EVA request, Green Hab report, EVA report, Astronomy report, HSO report, Art report

Support Requested: None