Journalist Report 09 Nov 2021
By Madison Rooth and Brian Murphy
MDRS Crew 239 Sol 2 (11/09/2021):
We began our morning with a breakfast of water, coffee, and Cliff bars while preparing for our EVA at 0900. The crew studied our Martian Map and began suiting up for EVA Team 1 to embark on their mission. CO Crisman led the EVA, and XO Rooth and MCA Murphy joined with goals of geologic sampling and rover training.
We had a very productive EVA with samplings of sediments, marble, and local regolith to analyze later. MCA Murphy is excited to analyze the grain types in the regolith for their compatibility in clay pottery.
Upon Team 1’s return around 1200, the crew shared a meal of broccoli and cheddar soup with rice.
Then, Team 2, consisting of GHO Montanez, ENG Moga, and HSO Milne, suited up to begin their EVA to the West side of Kissing Camel Ridge. At this time, however, dark clouds were appearing on the horizon, but the wind was still holding steady at 10 mph. CO Crisman informed EVA Team 2 Lead GHO Montanez that if the wind speeds faster than this, to turn around and return to Hab. About half an hour after leaving, MDRS Director Dr. Shannon Rupert contacted the Hab Support Team and informed them of the dangerous weather situation.
However, EVA Team 2 was already out of the radio contact perimeter. Luckily, according to the team briefing earlier, with the winds now speeding at around 15 mph, EVA Team 2 had already begun to return to Hab and safely arrived only at 1330.
While this is a disappointing setback, as Team 2 was excited to explore the rocky Martian terrain, we are preparing to reschedule their EVA to the following morning when the weather will (hopefully) be more cooperative with human exploration of the Red Planet. The safety of our crew must always come first.
When Team 2 returned, the crew worked on individual research projects. GHO Montanez trekked through the Hab Tunnels to the Green House to care for the plants. ENG Moga and HSO Milne worked to ensure a safe and comfortable Hab environment, while XO Rooth and MCA Murphy worked with sediment samples.
Since the generator is still misbehaving, the Hab, unfortunately, does not have power (including heat!!), but this does not discourage our astronauts from putting their best boot forward in this dusty terrain. The crew worked until dinnertime, where GHO Montanez and HSO Milne prepared a dinner of Au Gratin potatoes and meat from the food resupply probe, delivered in the evening.
All in all, Crew 239 continues to push humanity further (and farther) than it has gone before and is looking forward to the following Sol when the Martian atmosphere will not be as harsh.