Crew 272 Journalist Report 1-10-2023
Author: Kenny Pritchard, Crew Journalist
Title: Saving Private Chewy
Our morning stretches this sol were followed by a freshly baked bread-and-toppings breakfast thanks to Megan, who woke up early to start the process. Many of us elected to adorn our bread chunks with Nutella, which is somewhat of a coveted resource out here. There’s air, water, Nutella, and shelter. It’s Martian gold!
The EVA of the sol brought Kshitij, Mason, Madelyn, and Arly back to Kissing Camel Ridge for the competitive showdown of a lifetime. Mason’s research includes a search-and-rescue scenario, where the high-speed, high-tech, high-flying drone was to be pitted against two valiant, scrappy, underdog humans to see who could first locate a lost and incapacitated (hidden) astronaut (box containing colorful t-shirts and an uninflated, inflatable Grogu/Baby Yoda). Who will win? Get your tickets while you can! Pay for the whole seat, but you only need the edge! Back at the Hab, we eagerly awaited the scores, serving as a point-of-contact for the EVA crew as usual. Kshitij hid the boxy astronaut (henceforth referred to as Private Chewy), and the athletes were off to the races. Private Chewy was first hidden on the East side of the region, in a flatter area, where humans and the drone should have a fair fight. He was next hidden on the West side of the region, where the obstructive hills should provide an advantage to the drone. For the first attempt, Madelyn and Arly planned to attack the perimeter of the area from both sides (within line of sight of each other). For the second, they moved together through the hills in their joint mission. Mason flew the drone out with a grid-pattern search. Ultimately, the humans were victorious in both trials! But some complications place an asterisk on their claim to the trophy. In a post-game interview, Mason cited strong winds and connectivity difficulties. Several times, the AI-driven drone lost connection and flew back to its launch site. The drone even did pass over the target first, but Private Chewy was invisible in the resolution available for live video feed. Also, Kshitij, not known for his tight lips when it comes to secrets he’s excited about, may have accidentally tipped off the humans in round two. No boxes were harmed in the making of this production.
Those of us stuck indoors (the Hab-rats, per Adriana), engaged in the traditional pastime of cleaning and sorting geologic samples. Upon her return, Madelyn collected a fresh harvest of carrots and beans in the GreenHab. Next, on tonight’s episode of the Great Martian Baking Show, Adriana and Kshitij are making another cake to celebrate the birthday of backup crew GreenHab Officer Ian Rimer. Happy birthday Ian, from Mars to Earth! Madelyn will be collaborating with Ian on research when we return to Purdue, but tonight, she is collaborating with the stove top to make some quesadillas. Mm mm mmm!