Commander's Report October 8th

Crew 228 Commander Report 08Oct2021

Sol: 11

Summary Title: Pale purple dots

Author’s name: Lindsay Rutter

Mission Status: Nominal

Commander Report:

Time flies like arrows; fruit flies like freeze-dried bananas. And somehow we find ourselves on the final sol of our mission.

We spent much of the day cleaning. Cleaning duties at the base cannot be underestimated. Mars has dust storms, sometimes covering the planet for months. With a thin atmosphere, a hurricane on Mars feels like a breeze on Earth – but the dustiness remains an issue. Martian dust is finer than what we remember back on Earth. We know that Spirit and Opportunity significantly outlived their life expectancies, demonstrating that technical hardware can survive on Mars. Regardless, we play it safe here, because our critical technical equipment (such as our 15kW solar array) could experience reduced efficiency should they become covered in a film of dust. We wanted to leave the HAB in top-notch shape for the next Martians.

Alongside maintenance, we worked at a steady pace, finishing remaining passion projects. We filmed ourselves answering a final set of questions from fourth graders about our mission – responding to innovative questions about both science and science fiction, and replying to children who want to become space explorers. We also concluded our science experiments. Each member of this crew thoroughly prepared for this mission – and I have worked hard to support their ambitious projects.

Soon after I submit this report, my crew will participate in the first Mars-to-Mars (M2M) Virtual Link. We will hold a brief conference with the AARG-1 crew, who recently touched down at the other research base on Mars, ILMAH station. It feels surreal for us to communicate with four other humans – without the forty minute delay. With multiple bases on Mars now, human exploration of the planet will surely mushroom in the upcoming years.

Tomorrow, we will enter a pressurized exploration vehicle and return to Earth via the Hanksville Spaceport. We will transition from a life of isolation among the four of us to a life of quarantine among the global population. Some of what made us better Earthlings these past few years made us better Martians. And some of what made us better Martians this mission will make us better Earthlings. I feel less as though we are exclusively home to the Pale Blue Dot. Red lessons from Mars will stay with us. Home feels more like a Pale Purple Dot to me now.

Just after we depart the HAB tomorrow, we will drive past Henry, the complete dinosaur fossil discovered by Dr. Shannon Rupert. Henry is a Pteranodon. Or a Quetzalcoatlus. Or a Rhamphorhynchus. Or something like that, that nobody can pronounce to save their lives. But what we do know is that he had wings to fly. We humans need to spread our wings and soar even higher. Improve our contingency plans. For asteroids. For pandemics. For climate change. These themes have played in my head during this mission – and I suspect they will even more tomorrow.

Our crew has accomplished a generous amount of scientific output. We reached out to students across the world. We fixed equipment in the HAB. Our crew prepared for this mission for 2.5 years – and the effort was worth it. It will be hard to part with the crew tomorrow, but I have learned and grown from each of them. I can only hope I successfully guided each crew member to reach their biggest goals. I want to give a very special thanks to Dr. Shannon Rupert for her tireless support with our mission. This one-of-a-kind gem of a research station would cave into itself without her unwavering resolve and fierce talents. I want to thank our remote crew, our CapComs, and Mission Support for their selfless assistance throughout our mission. And I want to thank the Mars Society for pushing humanity to the next frontier of space exploration. Thank you for giving us all this incredible opportunity, and thank you for trusting me to command this mission.

Crew 228 Sol 11 Summary October 8th

Sol: 11

Summary Title: The Mission Winds Down

Author’s name: Dave Laude

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary:

After breakfast discussed the day’s activities, mostly cleaning and preparing campus for our departure.

Lindsay continued metagenomic regolith experiments in the ScienceDome and
Inga prepared for her upcoming presentation at the Mars Society
Conference. She will present machine learning findings about social
dynamics in space analogs.

For a Show and Tell during lunch break Dave talked about radio in the early 1920s and demonstrated a 1924 battery operated 2-tube receiver.

Dave and Inga took food inventory and entire crew performed general cleaning.

Weather: Cloudy, windy, dark, light rain and cold. Nice day to stay inside, clean and write reports.

Crew Physical Status: All crew nominal, except one scraped back of hand on irregular piece of wood. Very little slow bleeding stopped itself in a few minutes. Wound cleaned and bandaged.

EVA: None

Reports to be filed: Commander, Science, Photo, Sol Summary, Journalist.

Support Requested: None

END

Crew 228 Journalist Report October 8th

THE LAST SUNRISE
Jin Sia
HSO, Crew 228

Disclaimer: The characters are based on the real Areonauts of Crew
228, but the story is entirely fictional to depict an emotional rather
than physical journey.

Dedicated to all who have looked up at the night sky and dreamed
impossible dreams.

— I: ROLL-OUT —

"What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night."

– Sarah Williams, ‘The Old Astronomer (to His Pupil)’

And as rapidly as the mission started, it came to an end.

The last few days of the stay on Mars were hectic with preparations to
leave. Three sols before liftoff, breakfast was eaten under a
deafening pall of silence. Minds had begun to stray to last-minute
data collection or to the inevitable litany of press conferences and
presentations that awaited them on Earth. Jin’s was lost in the
labyrinthine regulations governing planetary protection, while Inga’s
chewed on the logistics of defending her PhD thesis remotely from a
spacecraft during the six-month voyage home.

It was Dave who broke the silence: "Could you all please be a bit quieter?"

Amid the chorus of laughter, the crew felt a little more like a crew once again.

Lindsay spent most of her days in the Science Dome, working late hours
in a determined bid to find alien microbes in her samples of the
Jotunheim structure. After 2200 hours, the sound of Inga’s keyboard
chattering away pounded against her closed room door. Jin seemed to be
writing constantly, perhaps some email summarizing his geographical
findings to his contact on Earth or blogging about the events of the
day. Dave was the only one who seemed unbothered by the go-go-go
thrumming drone of work. He investigated the mysteries of the Hab’s
water system and the radios in his methodical engineer’s way.

The dust storms of the previous two days had cleared over Candor
Chasma. The Sun stretched its hands through the portholes, painting
oval spots of warmth on the room doors. The sky glowed a dusty Martian
pink, oblivious to the gray sternness of the sols before. The mascot,
Tiny Diamond, stood in the window as he always had, silver hair afire
like the lining of a stray stormcloud. A conversation about the water
tank echoed up the stairs.

— II: GO —

"Fortune has taken away, but Fortune has given. Let us greedily enjoy
our friends, because we do not know how long this privilege will be
ours."

– Seneca the Younger

"Do we really have to go back to Earth?" said Inga as the Areonauts
suited up in the Hab’s lower deck.

"Not sick of us yet?" Jin replied.

"Oh no, I’m just sicker of Earth than I am of you."

"I’ll take that as a compliment."

Both chuckled and grinned, but the grins soon dissipated like smoke.

The lower deck was suffused with a muted melancholy mood – not like
the other EVA preparation sessions, which always had a spark of
excitement to them. Once all the visors had snapped closed and the
life support packs were whirring away, they tore themselves away from
the Hab’s interior and clambered into the airlock. Leaving Mars was
necessary, for there was work to be done for the species the Areonauts
had left behind.

As they walked out of the airlock and to the pressurized long-range
rover, Jin turned around to look at the Hab one last time – the
faithful Hab that had kept them alive for six months in space and
nearly two years on the Martian surface. It had weathered ferocious
dust storms and the sleet of radiation from Solar flares. Its water
system was leaky, its fire detectors were trigger-happy, and it had
nearly run out of power once, but it was still home.

The next crew to land at Candor Chasma would be a special one – a team
of teachers, working for the benefit of both Earth and Mars with
laser-focused determination to raise up the next generation of space
explorers. Then, there would be the first all-women crew to land on
Mars. Plans had been conceived so that the other five Areonauts still
Earth-bound – Ludo, Yuzo-san, Stu, Marufa, and Charikleia – would one
day warm the Hab’s rooms and be as stunned by the austere beauty of
the planet as the crews before them were.

Jin turned his back on the Hab and joined the others in the rover. He
slammed the door shut, repressurized the rover, and they drove off
together into their last sunrise on Mars.

— III: ORBIT —

"Prometheus they say, brought God’s fire down to Man,
and we’ve caught it, tamed it, trained it, since our history began.
And now we’re going back to Heaven, just to look Him in the eye,
there’s a thunder ‘cross the land, and a fire in the sky!"

– Jordin Kare, ‘Fire in the Sky’

An email flashed on the screen of the Earth Return Vehicle’s cockpit:
"Areonauts go for Mars ascent final checklist."

"Alright, we’ve gotten the go for launch," said Dave, in the pilot’s
seat. "Here’s the final checklist. Fuel – one hundred percent. Life
support?"

"Reserves at one hundred percent, recyclers nominal, atmosphere is
good," reported Jin.

These had been checked and rechecked hundreds of times in the past
hour by the flight computer, but Dave’s meticulousness took no
chances. Finally, after dozens of items, he reached the last line of
the checklist.

"Commander, are we go for launch?"

There was no hesitation. "Go for launch," said Lindsay.

"Okay, we’re on auto sequencer," said Dave. "Tanks pressurizing,
chilling turbopumps, igniter armed…"

The vehicle began to hum as its auxiliary power units started.

"Eight, seven, six, five, four, three…"

The turbopumps screamed to life and the ship vibrated, straining like
a wild animal caught in a trap.

"…two, one, zero."

With surprising force, the ship leapt into the Martian morning sky
upon a pillar of fire and sound. The reddish-brown mesas and plains
shuddered and fell away.

"Off we go!" exclaimed Lindsay. "Woo hoo!"

As the ship ascended, the gees piled on. Two gees crushed them into
their seats. Three gees. Four gees. Jet black darkness flooded the
butterscotch sky. As the ship pitched over on its trajectory, the dark
sky disappeared from the windows and was replaced by the ochre sands
of Mars stretching out above them, like a mural on a gargantuan chapel
ceiling. They raced under the ancient, tortured plains of Arabia
Terra. Clusters of craters left their view as soon as they appeared.
For long minutes, the Earth Return Vehicle gathered speed upon speed
upon speed, going faster and faster across the terrain as its tanks
ran dry.

The engines shut down. The awful weight leapt off the Areonauts’
chests and they drank in their suits’ oxygen greedily, catching their
breath. They heard the staccato bang-bang-bang of attitude control
thrusters firing as the guidance computer fine-tuned their velocity.
The ship gently rolled over to point its solar panels at the Sun, and
the windows were filled with darkness again.

And in that darkness, steady and bright, a blue point of light pierced
through the firmament. No-one needed to say anything to know what it
was. Earth was calling her children home.

— IV: RETROGRADE —

"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree."

– Joyce Kilmer, ‘Trees’

The capsule shook and shuddered as it plummeted out of the sky like a
stone. There was a bang as a mortar in the nose fired and
luridly-colored drogue chutes blossomed open in the dense Earth air.
After three years of fractional gravity, the deceleration of four gees
felt like being squeezed in a vice.

Seconds later, the drogue chutes fell away and the main chutes opened,
filling the windows.

The altimeter counted down.

Five hundred metres. Four hundred. Three hundred. Two hundred. One hundred.

A final lurch knocked the air out of the Areonauts as the capsule met
the water. It rolled and pitched like a wild bull for a few seconds
before settling into an upright position. Then, there was silence save
for the gentle splashing of the waves.

Snap.

Dave was the first to open his visor and inhale the salty atmosphere
of the Florida coast, which had been admitted through valves that had
opened in the ceiling.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

The other three opened their visors and inhaled deeply. The fragrance
was sharp and biting, after years of sterile, metallic-smelling
recycled air. Seagulls squawked as they flew over the capsule,
scattering from the cacophony of the approaching recovery barge. They
sounded uncannily familiar, like hypnotic music heard in a dream, or
embers of memory from a life long past.

"Well, that was fun!" said Lindsay. "Anyone wanna go again?"

— V: RECOVERY —

"Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

– Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Requiem’

Cameras exploded with light like supernovae in the night.

After three years in the womb of a spaceship, the Areonauts squinted
in the harsh glare of the stagelights, hunched forward on the table.
Earth’s gravity well was obviously pleased, in its own jealous way, to
have them back. Journalists had filled the auditorium, some crushed
against the walls. After years of having only each other for company,
to the crew, the immense throng of people seemed to add a few extra
bars of atmospheric pressure to the room.

"Commander Rutter!" came a voice near the front. Lindsay struggled to
find the journalist’s face in the glare. "James Reed, New York Times.
In your opinion, were you or Dr. Popovaite the first to set foot on
Mars, and what does this mean for women in STEM?"

The moment her lips parted to answer, another question cannonballed
out of the darkness.

"Mr. Sia, Fauzi bin Rashid from The Malay Mail. What is your response
to criticism that you have spent too long in the West and have lost
your Malaysian roots?"

Another question, this time with a light German accent.

"Dr. Popovaite, Anna Schoellig from Deutsche Welle. Do you think the
European Space Agency has done enough to support space research in
Lithuania?"

"Alright, one at a time!" Dave said, firmly but without a hint of
being rattled. A hand went up. "There, the lady in the black vest."

"Joanne Swanbeck, The Guardian," said the journalist. "This question
is for the whole crew. You spent three years in space, away from your
friends and families, risking your lives, and giving all you had to
complete the mission. Do you think it was worth it?"

The Areonauts glanced at each other.

Lindsay leaned forward to the microphone. "Yes, it was."

Dave added, "That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it."

The Areonauts burst out in raucous laughter. The journalists, space
agency officials, and dignitaries in the room looked at each other in
abject confusion.

"Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now."

– Constantine P. Cavafy, ‘Ιθάκη’ (Ithaka), translated by Edmund Keeley

END

Crew 228 Science Report October 8th

Hi W@yne and everyone!

Here is the very last science report from crew228! Thank you all for being a terrific mission support crew!!!

Crew 228 Science Report 08-Oct-2021

Crew Scientist / GreenHab Officer Inga Popovaite

Science Report

Lindsay:

Today, Lindsay concluded DNA sampling of regolith she
collected along the slopes of the Jotunheim structure, an inverted river bed located approximately two kilometers North of the HAB (38.41712 N, -110.78466 W (NAD27)). The samples
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.

Lindsay extracted DNA using a Soil DNA Isolation Plus Kit (Product #64000, Norgen Biotek Corp) and then prepared the DNA samples into libraries using the Field Sequencing Kit (SQK-LRK001, Oxford Nanopore Technology). She used the handheld DNA sequencer MinION to basecall and sequence the libraries and the MinKNOW software to perform metagenomics analyses. She plans to finalize analyzes at home lab.

Overall, this process will allow her to identify what organisms, if any, are
present in the regolith samples. Lindsay 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
this remote environment.

Jin:

Today Jin summarized his findings and proposed changes to the MDRS map. He will email these suggestions to Mark Levesque.

Inga:

Inga is finalizing her dissertation data collection. She also got some feedback for the emotion management study she was piloting at the MDRS.

References:

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.

Inga Popovaitė,

Photo Report – October 07th

Here are some pictures from a very slow day on mars!! Picture of the day is "rows of cucumbers for future mars pickles.jpg"

Thank you for all your help Mission Support and have a good night!!!

Inga

Sol Summary – October 07th

Sol: 10

Summary Title: The Ultimate Penultimate

Author’s name: Lindsay Rutter

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Our penultimate sol on Mars was quiet. Jin needed to obtain COVID planetary protection certifications for his return flight to Planet Earth. The nearest certification center was more than two hours away, at the Hanskville Spaceport. Dave and Jin departed the HAB around 0930, with Dave bringing science gloves to prevent touching the same space fuel nozzles at recharging fuel stations along the route. Inga and I remained at the HAB. Our radio communication with Dave and Jin only lasted for about ten minutes. They gave an estimated return time of 1630. Indeed, they were gone most of the day.

I continued my metagenomic regolith experiments in the ScienceDome and Inga prepared for her upcoming presentation at the Mars Society Conference. She will present machine learning findings about social dynamics in space analogs. When I returned from the ScienceDome to the HAB to share lunch with Inga, she commented on how oddly quiet the HAB had felt when she was in it all alone for the first time!

After Dave and Jin safely returned to the HAB, we made minor adjustments in our schedule for how to spend our final sol on Mars. I feel a bit of the "third-quarter effect" wafting throughout the HAB. But it is not as prominent as usual. We have several big events tomorrow that keep us anchored to our mission. Tomorrow, we will participate in the first Mars-to-Mars (M2M) Video Link. We will virtually celebrate Space Week together with the AARG-1 crew, who are located at the other station on Mars, UND ILMAH. We Areonauts have been kind and supportive to each other, with engaging conversations each day. Still, we are eager for this event, because it will break our routine and expand our fishbowl population from four to eight – even if just for one hour!

Weather: Sunny, cloudy, and warm.

Crew Physical Status: All crew nominal.

EVA: None

Reports to be filed: Science, Photo, Sol, Journalist, GreenHab, Operations

Support Requested: None

END

Journalist Report – October 07th

THE SOUNDS OF MARS
Lindsay Rutter
Commander, Crew 228

Sounds on Mars, punctuated with Japanese onomatopoeia.

Disclaimer: The sequence of events has been modified for creative purposes.

========== Verse One ==========

"You hear that? That whistling sound? Whoooooo," one asked.

"That sure is weird music," the other replied.

On the dark side of the Moon, Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young describe its hauntingly beautiful melody. But the Moon should have no sound – there is no sound medium. Turns out the mysterious music was only VHF radio interference between the Command Module and the Lunar Module. The public hears the eerie sounds decades later.

We suit up for our first EVA. A muffled buzzing comes from our air supply. [ぶんぶん Buuuun Buuuun]. It echoes in our space helmets. Will we hear much of Mars beyond this purring?

Standing in the airlock, the five minute countdown initiates. Our emotions well up into what almost feels like a sound.

[わくわく Waku Waku].

That is the sound of anticipation in Japanese. In English, onomatopoeia is restricted to physical sounds. But in Japanese, onomatopoeia extends past this physical limitation. Our emotions, our sensations, our motions, our appearance, how we experience nature – all of these conditions have sound symbolism in Japanese.

We step onto the landscape and squint our eyes at the dizzying splendor. The Sun blazes its sweltering song. [ぎらぎら Gira Gira]. Jin and I depart on our rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity. We hear a raspy track from the gravel below. [凸凹 Deko Boko].

Percy is determined to detect life, meticulously caching rock samples. They say the tune a rock hums when Percy’s laser strikes it is what allows us to infer mass and relative hardness. Today, Jin and I join Percy in her passion project. Our target destination is Jotunheim, Homeland of the Gods. The inverted river channel is believed to contain potential biochemistry of interest and our mission is to confirm this hypothesis.

We traverse the dangerous terrain at the speed of sound. The sound of a snail’s pace, that is. [のろのろ Noro Noro].

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast," Jin says.

Disembarking at a predetermined location near Jotunheim, we contact HABCOM.

"EVA to HABCOM. We arrived at the junction. We will now circumnavigate the feature by foot. Expect a radio blackout. We will reestablish connection by 0945."

"HABCOM to EVA. Contact by 0945. Copy that."

We head to Jotunheim by foot. The vermillion regolith sighs hoarsely as we walk on it. [さくさく Saku Saku].

A smoky mint-green sand is exposed beneath. The elevated remains of the ancient river come into view. My head sweeps across the field from left to right, a stunning panorama. Variegated mesas and stately buttes pepper the landscape. We begin collecting samples from the precipitous slopes of Jotunheim. The steepness proves hard to navigate, and I stagger backward, with my heavy spacesuit exacerbating my descent.

I stomp down the slopes until I regain my balance. [ドドドドド Do Do Do Do Do]!

My heartbeat percusses in my ears. [ドキドキ Doki Doki]!

A fall in this harsh world, and I would become one with the dusty landscape.

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast," a concerned Jin reminds me.

We finish our sample collection. 0938. Seven minutes remain. We walk back to our rovers, and hear the splashy chimes of precipitation. [ぽたぽた Pota Pota].

"EVA to HABCOM. We have sampled Jotunheim. We will continue Northward to examine the raised sea-green dome structure. Do you copy?"

"HABCOM to EVA. We have precipitation. You are not authorized to continue the EVA." Our radios warble with static. [ざーざー Zaa Zaa].

Did they say we ARE authorized or we ARE NOT authorized? One word sure can make a difference! Even Neil Armstrong confided his infamous line was recorded in the history books with one word missing.

I am pretty sure they said we ARE authorized. But sometimes we hear what we want to hear!

"I repeat. You are NOT authorized to continue the EVA. Please return to the HAB immediately."

It was clear. Even the pink noise of the static could not conceal it.

"Okay. This is the saddest moment of my life," I say, duplicating the 50-year-old words Ed White muttered, when he did not want to return from his spacewalk.

We return to the HAB without incident.

========== Verse Two ==========

Back in the ScienceDome, I attempt to extract DNA from the samples. Bead-beating. Eluting. Vortexing. I pipette the liquified regolith into tubes the size of my pinky. I line them up in a microtube rack.

"Hey, they look like tiny chocolate milkshakes in little cupholders!" I say to Jin.

"Can I try one?" Jin asks, hopefully jokingly.

He stands to my right, but his voice arrives at my left. My head spins. A whispering gallery effect. The circular enclosure propagates sound waves along its walls, betraying our intuitive senses.

I attempt to separate the contents of the regolith samples by density. But the microcentrifuge looks ancient. It whirls into a hustled spin – but is it really reaching 14,400 RPM?

We use auditory evidence to check. Everything that spins causes a vibration at the frequency of its spin. Jin analyzes those vibrations with his Spectroid app. Rainbow ribbons of Fourier transformed vibrations twirl across his screen.

"Yes, it is spinning at 14,400 RPM," he says.

Jin, the audio detective.

========== Verse Three ==========

Back in the GreenHab, Inga works her magic. Green popping sounds. [にょきにょき Nyoki Nyoki]. The plants sprout their seed leaves. The microscopic shoots fizzle throughout the space garden. Her years of living on an organic farm are showing.

Inga harvests rosemary, and carefully documents its weight. She tallies precious greeneries in our Martian station. Inga sprinkles the herbs onto delicious soup that she concocted from water and powder.

The hearty warmth of the food is like a sweet lullaby. [ほかほか Hoka Hoka]. We all gather around the table to share dinner.

Dave regales us with a story from the summer of 1969. The grumbling and rumbling. The roaring and thundering. [ごろごろ Goro Goro]. The Apollo 11 liftoff happened right before his very eyes. And its bass drumming sent a rolling shockwave through the gathered crowds.

I glance around the table. All crew are happily listening. Their smiles are an allegro chorus. [にこにこ Niko Niko].

We turn off the lights. Our tin can morphs into a riveting cinema. Then Dave plays us his original concerto, "Sunrise from Olympus Mons", composed on his 1040ST mid-1980s Atari computer. It starts with a pianississimo ensemble of ephemeral nocturnal sounds. They gradually crescendo as the blue glow of sunrise lights up the Martian terrain.

[ごんごん Gon Gon]!

An unwanted fortissimo from the pipe of our loft water tank. It thumps loudly, comically interrupting the music. Back leakage in the valves have sounded off every few minutes in our mission. The pipe must feel resentful to hear refined music it could never replicate.

Dave’s concerto ignores the interruption. His electronic orchestration continues to enchant us. Flutes. Organs. Pianos. “Ice-Rain Locust” Sound Effects. The sun has now almost fully risen in his composition.

[ごんごん Gon Gon]! [ごんごん Gon Gon]!

The pipes welt at us again.

As our evening winds down, Jin records our body temperature for the Planetary Protection Office. Our daily monitoring prevents astrovirological complications.

[カタカタ Kata Kata]. Clickety Clackety. He types away, sending our anonymized body temperatures to our remote flight surgeon.

We return to our staterooms for sleep. Dave turns off the water tank. Nobody wants to hear what sounds like machine gun sound effects from the Space Force in their dreams!

========== Verse Four ==========

Feeling cozy and content in my stateroom, I suddenly remember I need to finish one last science recording. Begrudgingly, I brave the pitch-black tunnel system and scurry at a prestissimo cadence toward the ScienceDome. As I place my flashlight down to turn the heavy submarine hatch door, I sense something is behind me. I turn around to see nothing but darkness. I chuckle at my cowardice. Nobody else is on this Martian terrain! I quickly enter the ScienceDome and turn on the light. My mind becomes engrossed in the meticulous world of molecular biology.

[ぴぴ Pi Pi]!

A sudden beeping sound. Coming from the door.

[ぞっとZotto]!

A shiver run down my spine. Who (or what!) is at the door?

My head whiplashes toward the door window. Pitch black. The sound came from the power system on the opposite side of the room. Fooled by the whispering gallery effect.

========== Verse Five ==========

Back at the HAB, I lay my head down on the fluffy pillow to the sound of soft clouds. [ふわふわ Fuwa Fuwa].

The musical performance of the sol replays in my head.

[ぶんぶん 。わくわく。ぎらぎら。凸凹。のろのろ。さくさく。ドドドドド!ドキドキ!ぽたぽた。ざーざー。にょきにょき。ほかほか。ごろごろ。にこにこ。ごんごん。カタカタ。ぴぴ!ぞっと!ふわふわ。]

[Buuuun Buuuun. Waku Waku. Gira Gira. Deko Boko. Noro Noro. Saku Saku. Do Do Do Do Do! Doki Doki! Pota Pota. Zaa Zaa. Nyoki Nyoki. Hoka Hoka. Goro Goro. Niko Niko. Gon Gon. Kata Kata. Pi Pi! Zotto! Fuwa Fuwa.]

Are we living in Dave’s concerto? Is this all a simulated reality?

The piece ends with a final tenuto.

[しーん Shin].

The sound of silence.

Sol Summary – October 07th

Sol: 10

Summary Title: The Ultimate Penultimate

Author’s name: Lindsay Rutter

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Our penultimate sol on Mars was quiet. Jin
needed to obtain COVID planetary protection certifications for his
return flight to Planet Earth. The nearest certification center was
more than two hours away, at the Hanskville Spaceport. Dave and Jin
departed the HAB around 0930, with Dave bringing science gloves to
prevent touching the same space fuel nozzles at recharging fuel
stations along the route. Inga and I remained at the HAB. Our radio
communication with Dave and Jin only lasted for about ten minutes.
They gave an estimated return time of 1630. Indeed, they were gone
most of the day.

I continued my metagenomic regolith experiments in the ScienceDome and
Inga prepared for her upcoming presentation at the Mars Society
Conference. She will present machine learning findings about social
dynamics in space analogs. When I returned from the ScienceDome to the
HAB to share lunch with Inga, she commented on how oddly quiet the HAB
had felt when she was in it all alone for the first time!

After Dave and Jin safely returned to the HAB, we made minor
adjustments in our schedule for how to spend our final sol on Mars. I
feel a bit of the "third-quarter effect" wafting throughout the HAB.
But it is not as prominent as usual. We have several big events
tomorrow that keep us anchored to our mission. Tomorrow, we will
participate in the first Mars-to-Mars (M2M) Video Link. We will
virtually celebrate Space Week together with the AARG-1 crew, who are
located at the other station on Mars, UND ILMAH. We Areonauts have
been kind and supportive to each other, with engaging conversations
each day. Still, we are eager for this event, because it will break
our routine and expand our fishbowl population from four to eight –
even if just for one hour!

Weather: Sunny, cloudy, and warm.

Crew Physical Status: All crew nominal.

EVA: None

Reports to be filed: Science, Photo, Sol, Journalist, GreenHab, Operations

Support Requested: None

END

Operations Report – October 07th

MDRS Operations Report 5-7-OCT-2021

Name of person filing report: Shannon Rupert and Crew Engineer/XO David Laude

Reason for Report: Routine

Non-nominal systems:

Action taken for non-nominal systems:

Generator: Nothing to report

ScienceDome Dual Split: Off

Solar— Nominal, providing all power

Solar— SOC % Last 24 hours:

Average 60.1

Minimum 14

Maximum 100

Note on solar: We are recovering from a day and a half of rain and clouds.

Diesel Reading – Empty, tank to be removed soon

Propane Reading, station tank – 76 %

Propane Reading, director tank— 71 %

Propane Reading, intern tank— 72 %

Propane Reading, generator— 80 %

Ethanol Free Gasoline – 1 gallons

Water (loft tank): 35 gallons. From the dimensions I calculated this to have a 60 gallon full to top of main tank capacity. The numbers written on one end are in close enough agreement with that. So, from that our water usage has been 25-30 gal/day on average. The water meter says 32 gal/day.

Water Meter: 152,581 units

Water (static tank) – 300 gallons

Static to Loft Pump used –yes

Water in GreenHab – 40%

Water in ScienceDome: 0 gallons

Water (Outpost tank) – 175 gallons

Hab toilet tank emptied: yes

Perseverance rover used:

Hours:

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Sojourner rover used: yes

Hours:

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: yes

Spirit rover used: yes

Hours: 140.8

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 99

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used:

Hours:

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Curiosity rover used: yes

Hours: 148.0

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 98

Currently charging: yes

Notes on rovers: Adaptions to protect the spacesuits have remained intact and functional.

ATV’s Used: (Honda, 350.1, 350.2, 350.3): All four were started and checked.

Reason for use: routine maintenance

Oil Added? Yes, to 350.1

ATV Fuel Used: 4 Gals

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 0.25

Notes on ATVs: Both of the Honda’s rear tires are flat. I need to take them off and see if they are repairable. The oil is dirty on all four. They need to have a full tuneup and oil change. 350.2 runs well but is too dangerous to use. 350.3 needed the bolts on the battery tightened.

HabCar used and why, where? Yes, to town to pick up the trailer from storage and bring it back to campus

CrewCar used and why, where? Yes, to town to fill up with gas to turn it over to the crew. Also used to go get COVID test in Grand Junction.

Luna used and why, where? Yes, to town

General notes and comments: People were adding trash to the trailer where it was parked at storage so I went and picked it up. I had some trouble with the hitch but some people in town helped me with it. Lugs on the tires were also tightened, however the rear of the two axles has been bent in the past and needs replaced.

Summary of internet: All accounts are nominal.

Summary of suits and radios: Suits good, but sometimes charger connector to EVA suit needs jiggling to charge. Looks like same problem and same type connectors I saw here in 2009. The newer barrel connector style might work better. 5 radio batteries have been identified as not suitable for further use and will be removed from the hab so no other crew will have to fuss with them. 3 radios have been identified as faulty and labeled. They are on the second shelf down on the radio table in lower hab. There are just enough batteries remaining for all the working radios. Likely a few more batteries may not be up to par as I did not test all. The tested good batteries will run a radio in transmit on high power for ~25 minutes continuously. Intermittently my guess is ~30 minutes.

Campus wide inspection, if action taken, what and why?

Summary of general operations: No significant worries.

Summary of Hab operations: Replaced loft tank and portable kitchen water jug filters. Toilet leak is ~ 2 gal/day of potable (I assume) water .

Summary of Outpost operations: Transfer of the construction trash from the work party has begun. Director Trailer blackwater emptied.

Summary of GreenHab operations: All good except purple watering can was damaged. Still works.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: DNA sequencing on regolith samples on going.

Summary of RAM operations: No action.

Summary of any observatory issues: Robotic observatory is down.

Summary of health and safety issues: Everything good.

Questions, concerns, supplies needed and requests: I need to put two weird little metal pieces on the trailer to attach the new VIN number. They look like thumb tacks but instead of a skinny metal pin they have a thick, blunt metal pins divided into fourths. Can anyone help me with this? How do these things work? (Shannon) If trailer is on campus I can look after sim. I don’t know how from your description. Since it’s for a VIN maybe it’s some permanent attachment that requires force and tools to place into holes (Dave)

Journalist Report – October 75th

THE SOUNDS OF MARS
Lindsay Rutter
Commander, Crew 228

Sounds on Mars, punctuated with Japanese onomatopoeia.

Disclaimer: The sequence of events has been modified for creative purposes.

========== Verse One ==========

"You hear that? That whistling sound? Whoooooo," one asked.

"That sure is weird music," the other replied.

On the dark side of the Moon, Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and
John Young describe its hauntingly beautiful melody. But the Moon
should have no sound – there is no sound medium. Turns out the
mysterious music was only VHF radio interference between the Command
Module and the Lunar Module. The public hears the eerie sounds decades
later.

We suit up for our first EVA. A muffled buzzing comes from our air
supply. [ぶんぶん Buuuun Buuuun]. It echoes in our space helmets. Will we
hear much of Mars beyond this purring?

Standing in the airlock, the five minute countdown initiates. Our
emotions well up into what almost feels like a sound.

[わくわく Waku Waku].

That is the sound of anticipation in Japanese. In English,
onomatopoeia is restricted to physical sounds. But in Japanese,
onomatopoeia extends past this physical limitation. Our emotions, our
sensations, our motions, our appearance, how we experience nature –
all of these conditions have sound symbolism in Japanese.

We step onto the landscape and squint our eyes at the dizzying
splendor. The Sun blazes its sweltering song. [ぎらぎら Gira Gira]. Jin
and I depart on our rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity. We hear a
raspy track from the gravel below. [凸凹 Deko Boko].

Percy is determined to detect life, meticulously caching rock samples.
They say the tune a rock hums when Percy’s laser strikes it is what
allows us to infer mass and relative hardness. Today, Jin and I join
Percy in her passion project. Our target destination is Jotunheim,
Homeland of the Gods. The inverted river channel is believed to
contain potential biochemistry of interest and our mission is to
confirm this hypothesis.

We traverse the dangerous terrain at the speed of sound. The sound of
a snail’s pace, that is. [のろのろ Noro Noro].

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast," Jin says.

Disembarking at a predetermined location near Jotunheim, we contact HABCOM.

"EVA to HABCOM. We arrived at the junction. We will now circumnavigate
the feature by foot. Expect a radio blackout. We will reestablish
connection by 0945."

"HABCOM to EVA. Contact by 0945. Copy that."

We head to Jotunheim by foot. The vermillion regolith sighs hoarsely
as we walk on it. [さくさく Saku Saku].

A smoky mint-green sand is exposed beneath. The elevated remains of
the ancient river come into view. My head sweeps across the field from
left to right, a stunning panorama. Variegated mesas and stately
buttes pepper the landscape. We begin collecting samples from the
precipitous slopes of Jotunheim. The steepness proves hard to
navigate, and I stagger backward, with my heavy spacesuit exacerbating
my descent.

I stomp down the slopes until I regain my balance. [ドドドドド Do Do Do Do Do]!

My heartbeat percusses in my ears. [ドキドキ Doki Doki]!

A fall in this harsh world, and I would become one with the dusty landscape.

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast," a concerned Jin reminds me.

We finish our sample collection. 0938. Seven minutes remain. We walk
back to our rovers, and hear the splashy chimes of precipitation.
[ぽたぽた Pota Pota].

"EVA to HABCOM. We have sampled Jotunheim. We will continue Northward
to examine the raised sea-green dome structure. Do you copy?"

"HABCOM to EVA. We have precipitation. You are not authorized to
continue the EVA." Our radios warble with static. [ざーざー Zaa Zaa].

Did they say we ARE authorized or we ARE NOT authorized? One word sure
can make a difference! Even Neil Armstrong confided his infamous line
was recorded in the history books with one word missing.

I am pretty sure they said we ARE authorized. But sometimes we hear
what we want to hear!

"I repeat. You are NOT authorized to continue the EVA. Please return
to the HAB immediately."

It was clear. Even the pink noise of the static could not conceal it.

"Okay. This is the saddest moment of my life," I say, duplicating the
50-year-old words Ed White muttered, when he did not want to return
from his spacewalk.

We return to the HAB without incident.

========== Verse Two ==========

Back in the ScienceDome, I attempt to extract DNA from the samples.
Bead-beating. Eluting. Vortexing. I pipette the liquified regolith
into tubes the size of my pinky. I line them up in a microtube rack.

"Hey, they look like tiny chocolate milkshakes in little cupholders!"
I say to Jin.

"Can I try one?" Jin asks, hopefully jokingly.

He stands to my right, but his voice arrives at my left. My head
spins. A whispering gallery effect. The circular enclosure propagates
sound waves along its walls, betraying our intuitive senses.

I attempt to separate the contents of the regolith samples by density.
But the microcentrifuge looks ancient. It whirls into a hustled spin –
but is it really reaching 14,400 RPM?

We use auditory evidence to check. Everything that spins causes a
vibration at the frequency of its spin. Jin analyzes those vibrations
with his Spectroid app. Rainbow ribbons of Fourier transformed
vibrations twirl across his screen.

"Yes, it is spinning at 14,400 RPM," he says.

Jin, the audio detective.

========== Verse Three ==========

Back in the GreenHab, Inga works her magic. Green popping sounds.
[にょきにょき Nyoki Nyoki]. The plants sprout their seed leaves. The
microscopic shoots fizzle throughout the space garden. Her years of
living on an organic farm are showing.

Inga harvests rosemary, and carefully documents its weight. She
tallies precious greeneries in our Martian station. Inga sprinkles the
herbs onto delicious soup that she concocted from water and powder.

The hearty warmth of the food is like a sweet lullaby. [ほかほか Hoka
Hoka]. We all gather around the table to share dinner.

Dave regales us with a story from the summer of 1969. The grumbling
and rumbling. The roaring and thundering. [ごろごろ Goro Goro]. The Apollo
11 liftoff happened right before his very eyes. And its bass drumming
sent a rolling shockwave through the gathered crowds.

I glance around the table. All crew are happily listening. Their
smiles are an allegro chorus. [にこにこ Niko Niko].

We turn off the lights. Our tin can morphs into a riveting cinema.
Then Dave plays us his original concerto, "Sunrise from Olympus Mons",
composed on his 1040ST mid-1980s Atari computer. It starts with a
pianississimo ensemble of ephemeral nocturnal sounds. They gradually
crescendo as the blue glow of sunrise lights up the Martian terrain.

[ごんごん Gon Gon]!

An unwanted fortissimo from the pipe of our loft water tank. It thumps
loudly, comically interrupting the music. Back leakage in the valves
have sounded off every few minutes in our mission. The pipe must feel
resentful to hear refined music it could never replicate.

Dave’s concerto ignores the interruption. His electronic orchestration
continues to enchant us. Flutes. Organs. Pianos. “Ice-Rain Locust”
Sound Effects. The sun has now almost fully risen in his composition.

[ごんごん Gon Gon]! [ごんごん Gon Gon]!

The pipes welt at us again.

As our evening winds down, Jin records our body temperature for the
Planetary Protection Office. Our daily monitoring prevents
astrovirological complications.

[カタカタ Kata Kata]. Clickety Clackety. He types away, sending our
anonymized body temperatures to our remote flight surgeon.

We return to our staterooms for sleep. Dave turns off the water tank.
Nobody wants to hear what sounds like machine gun sound effects from
the Space Force in their dreams!

========== Verse Four ==========

Feeling cozy and content in my stateroom, I suddenly remember I need
to finish one last science recording. Begrudgingly, I brave the
pitch-black tunnel system and scurry at a prestissimo cadence toward
the ScienceDome. As I place my flashlight down to turn the heavy
submarine hatch door, I sense something is behind me. I turn around
to see nothing but darkness. I chuckle at my cowardice. Nobody else is
on this Martian terrain! I quickly enter the ScienceDome and turn on
the light. My mind becomes engrossed in the meticulous world of
molecular biology.

[ぴぴ Pi Pi]!

A sudden beeping sound. Coming from the door.

[ぞっとZotto]!

A shiver run down my spine. Who (or what!) is at the door?

My head whiplashes toward the door window. Pitch black. The sound came
from the power system on the opposite side of the room. Fooled by the
whispering gallery effect.

========== Verse Five ==========

Back at the HAB, I lay my head down on the fluffy pillow to the sound
of soft clouds. [ふわふわ Fuwa Fuwa].

The musical performance of the sol replays in my head.

[ぶんぶん 。わくわく。ぎらぎら。凸凹
。のろのろ。さくさく。ドドドドド!ドキドキ!ぽたぽた。ざーざー。にょきにょき。ほかほか。ごろごろ。にこにこ。ごんごん。カタカタ。ぴぴ!ぞっと!ふわふわ。]

[Buuuun Buuuun. Waku Waku. Gira Gira. Deko Boko. Noro Noro. Saku Saku.
Do Do Do Do Do! Doki Doki! Pota Pota. Zaa Zaa. Nyoki Nyoki. Hoka Hoka.
Goro Goro. Niko Niko. Gon Gon. Kata Kata. Pi Pi! Zotto! Fuwa Fuwa.]

Are we living in Dave’s concerto? Is this all a simulated reality?

The piece ends with a final tenuto.

[しーん Shin].

The sound of silence.