Crew 272 Journalist Report 1-5-2023
Author: Kenny Pritchard, Crew Journalist
Our morning exercise session today was overridden by the more important task of completing the EVA request/planning process that carried over from the previous evening’s comms window. Unfortunately, due to a few miscommunications and the necessity for absolute certainty in plans here, our EVA for this sol was cancelled. The mission on Mars is not accomplished by astronauts alone – our crew depends on both our Purdue Mission Control team back home and the on-site MDRS Mission Support. Given the remoteness of Mars and the communication delay from Earth, the traditional-space-mission involvement of a full-scale mission control team is not so practical, forcing our crew to operate semi-autonomously. My own research is to document disruptions to the schedules we set and better qualify the unique challenges of Martian surface operations. In a way, my data depend on the others achieving their objectives – so stop reading this and get back to work, Crew 272!
Regardless of the lack of EVA, the crew had a productive day accomplishing tasks within the cozy boundaries of the Hab. Madelyn served up a pancake breakfast and tried out a new bread recipe. In the GreenHab, she distributed the substrate from yesterday’s EVA into containers and planted some new seeds. We might get to see the beginnings of some of the ‘black nebula’ carrots she planted in a few sols. Adriana hosted a rock party in the Science Dome, teaching the crew about the various kinds of samples we thought looked shiny enough to bring back from EVAs. Mostly, it was chert. Megan ironed out some technical difficulties with the 3d printer, Mason worked on a preflight checklist for flying the drone, and Kshitij led the entire crew in reviewing EVA/mission protocols in hopes of a smoother tomorrow (or rockier, depending on how you look at it).
When she’s not adding more music to our crew’s joint playlist, Arly spends much of her time documenting behavioral observations and preparing to analyze the ongoing results of her research (pending IRB approval). Members of the crew have been taking cognitive performance tests and completing personal surveys each sol, typically immediately after returning from EVA. The results of these tests, along with air quality sensors in the Hab, will help clarify the cognitive and mental effects of highly regimented sol-to-sol life in an enclosed space.
We’re all looking forward to trying out Mason’s cheese raviolis tonight. Sure he’s handy with a wrench, but how about a spoon? Time will tell. Lastly, as I write this report, other members of the crew have adorned the upper deck of the Hab with many colorful balloons and an inflatable Baby Yoda/Grogu left to us by Crew 271. They’re whispering (well within earshot) about cake and plans to celebrate the occasion of my birth-sol. I couldn’t ask for a more unique place to enjoy it, nor a cooler Martian crew to spend it with. Thanks, team!