EVA Report – October 05th

EVA #5

Author: Lindsay Rutter

Purpose of EVA: Collecting endolith and non-endolith rock samples on the Jotunheim structure

Start time: 0817

End time: 1032

Narrative:

Dave and Lindsay departed the HAB using the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers. The weather was cloudy, with a chance of rain. They turned left onto Cow Dung Road and proceeded North, until they arrived without incident at the intersection with Galileo Road. They parked approximately 50m North of the intersection, established contact with HabCom, and indicated they would likely experience radio blackout while circumnavigating the Jotunheim feature, and would return to an area with reception by 1000. They then dismounted the rovers, and traversed the remaining 500m to the structure by foot.

During the walk, they encountered numerous features that were visually similar to the target destination, but they did not experience difficulty finding it because Lindsay had already reached the structure using the same route in a previous EVA. Upon arrival, they conclusively identified the target destination with the aid of GPS. They then began to circumnavigate the structure counterclockwise. At five separate points along the structure, Lindsay collected samples, primarily on the structure’s slopes. Lindsay selected triplicate samples of endolith rocks and triplicate samples of non-endolith rocks. She donned extra large lab gloves over her spacesuit gloves and collected the rocks into sterilized bags for follow-up analysis. Dave recorded GPS coordinates, elevation, and collection time for each sample using the GPS Essentials application. He also manually recorded the metadata in a field notebook.

Dave and Lindsay departed the Jotunheim feature at 0958. Along the return walk, they attempted to reestablish connection every 30 seconds with HabCom, and successfully reestablished contact about halfway on the return walk to their rovers. Upon arriving at the rovers, Lindsay’s radio displayed a low battery warning and began failing to properly transmit and receive, despite it being fully charged at the beginning of the EVA. She rectified the issue by reconnecting her headpiece with her backup radio.

Dave and Lindsay began to depart Southward on Cow Dung Road, heading back to the HAB. About halfway of the return distance, they noted an off-white, elevated, and dome-shaped feature about 10m from the Westside berm of the road, that could be investigated in a future EVA. They returned to the HAB without incident. Less than one minute after entering the airlock, they were informed light precipitation had begun.

Destination: Jotunheim Structure

Coordinates: zone 12 4251912 N 518799 E (38.41712 N, -110.78466 W [NAD27])

Participants: L. Rutter, D. Laude

Road(s) and routes per MDRS map: Cow Dung Road 0110

Mode of travel: Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, walking

Journalist Report – October 05th

"The Case for Age"

While on EVA today the idea for this report began to take form in my mind. Here I am in the 65+ age group and walking about Mars. But of what use is age here? Is there any advantage? In "The Case For Mars" book a good argument is made for a small crew size with two of the crew being engineers with training in other essential areas. Things will break and that is very bad once you leave earth. Maybe deadly or mission ending. An engineer is usually highly trained in one narrow area (like micro-chip design in my case) and without a diverse knowledge base beyond that. I have heard that NASA has had a difficult time in recent decades recruiting engineers with a diverse experience base. They are highly trained in one niche, but can’t replace a lamp cord or spark plugs for instance. These engineers had missed out on hands on experiences from a young age maybe because of such distractions as "Smart" phones and other electronic information devices. I was blessed not to have those distractions in my youth. Around age 5, I was disassembling small mechanical devices (alarm clock). By age 8, I was disassembling old radios and an occasional TV, even removing rivets so I could add a tube socket to my building inventory that I knew not how to practically use yet. By age 10, I was not very successfull in making my own rockets, propellent and hydrogen bombs (using H and O2 gasses I derived by electrolysis and put into a small container with electrical detonator). By age 12, building some simple electronics devices and repairing radios, By age 14, repairing TVs. By age 16, repairing vehicles and most any other thing that most people would trash, I would restore for more years of use. I could go on, but you surely get my point by now. I used my hands and brains in a wide variety of productive ways that the social and entertainment apps of today would have deprived me of.

I have used that knowledge on Crew 80 and Crew 228 to repair such items as EVA suit electrical, toilets, water pump, ATV, door, radio, sink drain strainer, water heater and things I have since forgotten. And all with full confidence. The extremely useful skill of improvising is also a desirable trait, especially with limited resources.

With all that said, I can now say that one engineer should be older than the rest of the crew for the greater depth and breadth of experience in many mechanical and electrical systems starting from a young age. Good luck finding such a person. Should the author of "The Case For Mars" read this, I can imagine seeing one or two thumbs up to "The Case For Age".

David Laude

Crew 228 Executive Officer/Crew Engineer

Science Report – October 05th

Jin Sia, HSO

Science Report

Lindsay:

Today, Lindsay continued to investigate reddish-brown regolith she
collected from five locations along the slopes of the Jotunheim
structure, an inverted river bed located approximately two kilometers
North of the HAB at 38.41712 N, -110.78466 W (NAD27). The regolith
were collected from the same geographical feature sampled by Maggiori
et al. (2020), who confirmed the presences of microbes from all three
kingdoms of life, including extremophiles that could potentially
survive the harsh elements of the Martian environment, such as
psychrophiles, halophiles, and UV-resistant microorganisms. In the
ScienceDome, Lindsay began to extract DNA using a Soil DNA Isolation
Plus Kit (Product #64000, Norgen Biotek Corp) and will then prepare
the DNA samples into libraries using the Field Sequencing Kit
(SQK-LRK001, Oxford Nanopore Technology). To simulate the lack of
state of the art facilities in the rudimentary Martian science labs,
she used human power to lyse the cells instead of using
micro-centrifuge or vortexes. Her protocol will take much longer than
usual and she will assess how this alternative process will affect the
yield of the DNA.

She will then use the handheld DNA sequencer MinION to basecall and
sequence the libraries and the MinKNOW software to perform
metagenomics analyses on the reads from the MinION. Overall, this
process will allow Lindsay to identify what organisms, if any, are
present in the regolith samples. She aims to validate the findings of
Maggiori et al. (2020), only now conducting the complete experimental
process from regolith sample collection to metagenomics analysis while
undergoing planetary exploration simulation at MDRS, all as a
proof-of-concept that metagenomics studies can be completed in-situ in
this remote environment.

Lindsay, with Jin’s assistance, was able to render the
micro-centrifuge operational again. They did so by using the
electrical cable from one of the lab microscopes and using the
emergency lid opening mechanism to reset it. Jin confirmed through
acoustic analysis that it was operating at the correct speed. Lindsay
centrifuged mixtures of sand and water, then the samples collected
from Jotunheim, and was successfully able to separate the solid phase
from the liquid phase.

Today, she also collected an additional six samples from Jotunheim
with Dave on EVA #7.

Jin:

Jin recorded the geographical data from Lindsay and Dave’s sample
collection EVA to Jotunheim in the MDRS GIS map. He corresponded with
Marc Levesque about his geographical data analysis from EVA #6.

Inga:

I am studying small mixed gender crew interactions. There is no
significant gender difference in task performance and physical
adaptation in isolated, confined, and extreme environments (Harm et
al. 2001; Kanas and Manzey 2008; Mark et al. 2014). Mixed-gender crews
are praised as more efficient, cohesive, and with overall better team
climate than men-only teams. But at the same time gender differences
are recognized as a source of additional tension in a crew (Bishop
2004; Kahn and Leon 2000; Kring and Kaminski 2012; Leon 1991, 2005).
In my dissertation I aim to investigate gender inequality and
differences from a socio-structural point of view in order to help to
send a well-functioning group of women and men to Mars.

The first two chapters of the dissertation use reports from the
previous MDRS crews. In Chapter 1 I use multilevel generalized
regression models to show that women on average participate in six
percentage points less EVAs than men (p<.05) controlling for their
crew role, education, previous analog experience, number of women in
the crew, and commanders’ gender. A paper based on this chapter is
accepted for publication at the Journal of Human Performance in
Extreme Environments.

Chapter 2 utilizes commanders’ reports from 2009-2016 and looks at
communal and agentic aspects of leadership behavior. Sentiment
analysis results showed that female commanders are statistically
significantly (p<.001) more positive in their reports than their male
counterparts. Qualitative analysis results demonstrated that both male
and female commanders are agentic, but male commanders talked more
about maintenance issues, and did it in a more negative tone in
comparison to female commanders. Commanders of both genders were
communal, but male commanders focused on crew cohesion in terms of
team spirit, and women emphasized mutual support. Proportional word
frequencies confirmed that commanders of both genders are agentic, but
women tend to use more general terms and men use more specific terms
in their reports. Female commanders used more communal words than male
commanders. Overall, the results are in line with previous social role
theory research and show that commanders of both genders are agentic
(but with granular differences), and female commanders tend to be more
communal. This paper is currently under peer review.

Currently at MDRS I collect ethnographic (participant observation)
data for the last chapter of my dissertation. In addition to rich
original data, this chapter will provide context to the rest of the
project.

And last but not least, crew 228 is helping me to pilot a future
journal study of emotion and emotion management. A significant body of
empirical psychological research on mixed-gender crews in space analog
environments reaffirm gender stereotypes: women are more
other-oriented and care more about the wellbeing of others, and men
are more individualistic and competitive (Bishop et al. 2010; Kahn and
Leon 2000; Leon 2005). Emotional behavior in this line of research is
seen as an intrinsic part of a personality. I approach emotions and
emotion management as aspects of a social structure. Emotional
behavior is closely intertwined with an individual’s gender and
status. Emotion management is a conscious attempt to align one’s
emotions with situational emotion rules (Hochschild 1983). This future
study will examine emotion management and unwritten emotion rules in
space analog environments.

References:

Bishop, Sheryl L. 2004. “Evaluating Teams in Extreme Environments:
From Issues to Answers.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
75(Suppl 7):C14-21.

Bishop, Sheryl L., Ryan Kobrick, Melissa Battler, and Kim Binsted.
2010. “FMARS 2007: Stress and Coping in an Arctic Mars Simulation.”
Acta Astronautica 66(9):1353–67. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2009.11.008.

Harm, Deborah, Richard Jennings, Janice Meck, Michael Powell, Lakshmi
Putcha, Clarence Sams, Suzanne Shneider, Linda Shackelford, Scott
Smith, and Peggy Whitson. 2001. “Genome and Hormones: Gender
Differences in Physiology. Invited Review: Gender Issues Related to
Space Flight in NASA Perspecitve.” Journal of Applied Psychology
(91):2374–83.

Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 1983. The Managed Heart: Commercialization
of Human Feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kahn, P., and G. Leon. 2000. “Group Climate & Individual Functioning
in an All-Women Antarctic Expedition Team.” Journal of Human
Performance in Extreme Environments 5(1). doi: 10.7771/2327-2937.1005.

Kanas, Nick, and Dietrich Manzey. 2008. Space Psychology and
Psychiatry. Springer Science & Business Media.

Kring, Jason P., and Megan A. Kaminski. 2012. “Gender Composition and
Crew Cohesion During Long-Duration Space Missions.” in On Orbit and
Beyond: Psychological Perspectives on Human Spaceflight, edited by D.
A. Vakoch. Springer Science & Business Media.

Leon, G. R. 2005. “Men and Women in Space.” Aviation, Space, and
Environmental Medicine 76(6 Suppl):B84-8.

Leon, Gloria R. 1991. “Individual and Group Process Characteristics of
Polar Expedition Teams.” Environment and Behavior 23(6):723–48. doi:
10.1177/0013916591236005.

Maggiori, Catherine, Jessica Stromberg, Yolanda Blanco, Jacqueline
Goordial, Edward Cloutis, Miriam García-Villadangos, Victor Parro, and
Lyle Whyte. 2020. “The Limits, Capabilities, and Potential for Life
Detection with MinION Sequencing in a Paleochannel Mars Analog.”
Astrobiology 20(3):375–93. doi: 10.1089/ast.2018.1964.

Mark, Saralyn, Graham B. I. Scott, Dorit B. Donoviel, Lauren B.
Leveton, Erin Mahoney, John B. Charles, and Bette Siegel. 2014. “The
Impact of Sex and Gender on Adaptation to Space: Executive Summary.”
Journal of Women’s Health (2002) 23(11):941–47. doi:
10.1089/jwh.2014.4914.

Sol Summary – October 05th

Sol: 8

Summary Title: Tick Tock

Author’s name: Inga Popovaite

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

Our time on Mars is racing towards the end. Today we realized that we have less than a handful of sols left, and I think we all wish we can stay longer. Far away from Covid and other problems that plagues our home planet.

The morning started with another EVA. This time Lindsay and Dave went back Jotunheim to collect more samples for Lindsay’s DNA study and Jin acted as the head HabComm. The EVA crew left early, at 8 am, and came back a couple of hours later, just seconds before it started to rain. But then another EVA had to be conducted to retrieve a phone left behind in one of the rovers. Inga and Lindsay suited up, depressurized for five minutes and went to get the phone. Less than a couple of minutes later, they were back into the airlock with the phone for another five minutes of repressurization. It was probably one of the more complicated phone retrievals in the author’s life.

For lunch Inga and Lindsay warmed up leftover vegetable soup and made Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits to go with it. The crew watched an episode of Away while eating.

Afterwards, everyone worked on their own projects. Lindsay continued her research in the Science Dome, Jin caught up on his grad school work, Inga set up an improvised TV studio downstairs to film some outreach videos, and Dave tinkered with things around the Hab. Inga and Dave measured water tanks in Hab and the GreenHab, and calculated that the loft tank holds ~60 gallons and the GreenHab tank holds ~236 gallons of water.

We are ending the day with another pizza tonight.

Look Ahead Plan: Inga and Dave are going to an EVA tomorrow, Lindsay continues her research work, Jin will continue updating the map of the area.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Rain in early and mid afternoon, cloudy afterwards.

Crew Physical Status: Nominal

EVA: EVA #6 to Jotunheim

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, EVA report, EVA request, Science Report, crew photos

Support Requested: None