By Darin Orton
Tuesday, Oct 24th, 2023
Day began with breakfast all together (scrambled eggs, spam, cheese, and oatmeal).
Following breakfast we met all together in the science dome for a geology lesson and mission objectives for today’s EVAs. We started with a zoom meeting with Dr. Shannon Rupert that included some instruction on Mars’ interesting history and MDRS works well as an analog for the Martian environment. She presented some thought provoking questions about the geologic history of Mars that we were assigned to ponder as we explored the Martian landscape and prepared our own investigations. We plan to revisit the questions at a future meeting later this week.
At the conclusion of the zoom meeting, Hab Commander Jen led a briefing to prep us for the EVA missions. We discussed safety, mission parameters, and goals for the EVA. She supplied us with directions to the two collection sites and the rock types that we need to collect. We then prepared for the first team EVA.
The first team suited up and prepared for departure. They suited up, checked comms, and completed safety checks. After spending 2 mins in the airlock we left the hab and headed for the rovers.
The team experienced battery issues and were unable to reach the collection zones before battery levels dropped below the critical limit and they were required to return to the hab.
Based on the experience of the first crew. The hab commander and mission leadership determined that the rover needed work and for the second EVA we would take the hab car.
This allowed us to take all six crew members with Commander Jen staying behind to lend support from the hab. With the hab car we were able to reach the first collection area and had no trouble collecting the gypsum samples we would need for our analog collections and investigations. We then proceeded to the second collection site to look for sandstone and blueberries for our collection. This took a little longer but we found the samples we needed for our analog collection. We loaded back into the hab car and returned to the hab.
Once at the hab we unloaded our gear and made sure everything was returned and charging. We took our gypsum samples to the science lab and began our investigation led by Commander Jen. For this investigation we are exploring the changes that take place when gypsum is exposed to heat and water. We set our samples up and will monitor them for changes over the next day or two.
We then had some down time before dinner. We ate dinner all together (Taco Tuesday at the hab!
At 7pm we connected once again with Dr. Shannon for a mission debrief. We discussed today’s EVA challenges and successes and got the new mission objectives for tomorrow’s EVAs.
The rover issues seem to be resolved so the plan is to continue the EVAs as planned, in crews of three, one in the morning, another in the afternoon.
Crew is tired but in good spirits. Early bed for all and looking forward to another challenging yet rewarding day on the red planet.