Crew 272 EVA Report 06-01-2023
EVA # 4
Author: Arly Black
Purpose of EVA: 1) Test of the MicroFox 15 transmitters using the Yagi-Uda antenna at Candor Chasma 2) Scouting of Candor Chasma by drone 2) Depositional environments of Candor Chasma, with specific focus on finding paleoflow indicators
Start time: 11:05 AM
End time: 2:37 PM
Narrative: After being grounded yesterday, and spending the day going over objectives and procedures, our antsy adventurers were stoked to get out and explore some more Martian terrain today. The crew was ready on time, despite a small problem with Kshitij’s mic. After pulling it out and then putting it back in, it seemed to work fine. Five minutes spent in the airlock listening to poor dad jokes was the perfect way to start the EVA. Mason and Kshitij took the lead in Opportunity, with Kshitij driving and Mason navigating, while Adriana and Kenny puttered along behind in Spirit, with Adriana driving and Kenny keep track of speed and state of charge. 8 minutes in, it was clear that Oppy performs much better than Spirit. Spirit had lost 20%, and Oppy 12%, while both driving at 10 km/hr.
The crew parked their rovers at the intersection of Cow Dung Road and Gateway to Candor, and walked on foot to Boiler Ledge, where they had left the Boiler Transmission Station (BTS) two days before. Kshitij turned on the BTS transmitter and HabCom turned on the transmitter located in the Hab. Kshitij performed a test of the Yagi-Uda antenna system using the Hab transmitter to check the range of the signal reception sector. Remarkably, he found it to be 180 degrees! Mason assisted with this, while Kenny and Adriana hammered and collected rock samples. It was at this time that Kshitij noticed issues with the cooling fan in his helmet when it started turning on and off sporadically. He also started to have radio/headset issues – it was choppy but improved over time – it was likely a loose connection.
Around 12:10 PM all crew members walked back to the rover, dropped off their samples, and picked up the drone. They then walked along Gateway to Candor to the entrance to Candor Chasma. Mason conducted a drone range test and scouted areas around Candor Chasma. The drone was able to reach around 850 m (2800 ft) which was a major success, especially when compared to the measly 300 m from last EVA – wahoo! Given that it was a sunny day with no ground interference, they had the perfect conditions for flying! Adriana began an experiment to test the performance of a non-geologist in the field – i.e banana-fingered Kenneth. No, that isn’t a slur, it is a literal description. In order to operate his phone with bulky Martian gloves, Kenny literally tied a banana peel to his gloved finger. And it worked like a charm! (now we’ll have to start saying “works like a banana”). Adriana asked questions about his perception of geologic processes in the area. His gut instincts were apparently correct, but ultimately his final answers were – womp womp – NOT. They discussed water flow direction and geomorphology features. And Adriana successfully located some paleoflow indicators!! One measurement she used was a strike and dip of forsets (we all know what that means, right?).
Meanwhile, down in the valley of Gateway to Candor, Kshitij was initially not able to detect a signal from the BTS or the Hab. The antenna needs line of sight to operate, so he climbed the north slope of the canyon (still within sight of the rest of the crew members) to get to a higher elevation with line of sight to both BTS and the Hab. There he was able to locate both locations. All in all, a very successful test!
The explorers then hiked back out through the Gateway to Candor and dropped off the drone and antenna at the rovers. The one remaining task was to turn off the BTS transmitter. Rather than send everyone back, the crew decided to make a line-of-sight train with Kenny and Adriana remaining nearest the rovers, Mason further along, and Kshitij left to trudge all the way to the transmitter. That way, each person had line of sight to at least one other person, without expending unnecessary energy. One note is that it is difficult to navigate to the Boiler Ledge and a better location method is needed. It was at this time that Kshitij experienced a complete meltdown of his helmet cooling system, sending his helmet into a foggy frenzy, and Mason stepped in to verbally and physically guide Kshitij back to the rover. At some point, Adriana lost her phone but was able to locate it. Kenny turned the rovers around to save time while Mason and Kshitij made their way back from the ledge. Then all crew members returned to the Hab in the rovers. While returning, both rovers seemed to perform better, likely due to a slight downhill slope in the road. Due to the helmet and visibility issues, the crew was seven minutes late in returning to the Hab – not too shabby!
In conclusion, all the objectives of the mission were achieved, although they did not make it as far into Candor Chasma as Adriana would have liked. Everyone got to smash some rocks with Adriana’s fabulous hammer, Little Rocky, and Kshitij successfully completed his experiment.
Lessons learned: 1. There were too many objectives laid out for this EVA given the time that was allotted – need to request more time next time. 2. It is valuable to follow a checkpoint system where landmarks are noted on your map as you pass, so that the course is maintained – this is what the crew did and it was wildly successful.
Destination: Galileo Road (Boiler Transmission Station) and Candor Chasma
Coordinates (use UTM WGS 84): N519600, E4251500 (Boiler Transmission Station), N523000, E4251300 (Candor Chasma)
Participants: Adriana Brown (Crew Geologist), Kenny Pritchard (Crew Journalist), Mason Kuhn (Crew Engineer), Kshitij Mall (Crew Commander)
Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Drove on Cow Dung Road until Gateway to Candor and parked the rovers. Walked on foot to Boiler Transmission Station located near Galileo Road at N519600, E4251500 to switch on the transmitter. Returned on foot to the rovers and walked through the Gateway to Candor until Candor Chasma. Later, returned on foot through Gateway to Candor to the rovers, deposited samples, drone, and antenna, and returned on foot to the coordinates near Galileo Road to switch off the transmitter. Returned on foot to rovers and returned to Hab via Cow Dung Road.
Mode of travel: Driving and walking