Crew 281 Journalist Report 18 May 2023
By: Rachel Jones
Sol 4 was a science day. The team had been pushing hard on EVAs for
the past three days; thus, a break day was needed. The crew slept in
late (i.e., past 0700). Then KC prepared a chocolate chip pancake
brunch from dehydrated scratch. I spent the morning building a
Raspberry Pi system to utilize an RTL-Software Defined Radio (SDR). My
efforts were frustrating as typical troubleshooting methods (i.e.,
looking it up online) were unavailable. This frustration sparked crew
discussion of a future Mars mission’s possible network architecture
and the need for a Mars intranet.
The afternoon brought each individual to pursue their individual
projects. KC, our all-in-one Crew Engineer, performed Hab maintenance
and monitored systems. He also investigated options for optimizing
GreenHab conditions. During the day, that module can get to over 105
*F, which, for some reason, the current varieties of “MDRS” plants
Megan checked on her chocolate plants that are currently sprouting in
the Grow Tent in the Science Dome. I got to help her water the
seedlings as I spent my afternoon researching and troubleshooting
SDRs. Thinking of all the parts I wish I had, I realize the ability to
print tools and spare electronic parts on Mars will be necessary, but
for now, I have a few obstacles to overcome.
Ritu and Ana planned the rest of the crew EVAs. Ritu researched drone
flying techniques to capture scan lines. For our mission, a scan line
is the recorded measurements of the geological and geomechanical
characteristics over a specific distance (i.e., the yellow taped line
in yesterday’s photos). Ana also made educational outreach videos for
the Space for All Nations initiative.
Dinner tonight was penne noodles with fresh tomato sauce. Again, this
sauce utilized a mix of vegetables and herbs harvested from the
GreenHab and supplemented with dehydrated vegetables and spices. After
dinner, activities featured writing reports and working on our
Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) characters.
After a day of rest, Crew 281 is ready to go 100% in Sol 5.