Sol 11 Journalist Report 23-NOV-2023
The crew rose at dawn to capture images of a spectacular red Martian sunrise and prepare for the last EVA of the mission.
The purpose was to demonstrate a simplified EVA mission onboard the MASH (Mobile Analog Space Habitat), a mobile habitat with an integrated ecological life support system including heating, cooling, food and water supply, and waste handling.
The MASH can take four astronauts aboard and travel further than the rovers. When parked it can serve as the base station for walking EVAs, allowing astronauts to return, rest and refresh aboard, then return to the MDRS habitat as needed.
Donald “Ducky” Jacques, crew Executive Officer and Chief Scientist at Earthseed, designed and built the MASH to approximate the features that NASA is including in their Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) concept.
Ducky, Crew Scientist Guillaume Gégo, Crew Documentary Filmmaker Hugo Saugier and brought our suits and gear into the MASH, and detached from the docking portal. We drove down Moon Walk Road, exited the campus and drove south on Cow Dung Road to Kissing Camel.
Moving an entire ecological life support system through rough, sandy roads is no small task, and the drive went very well.
Ducky performed a turn-around at the previously identified location, then parked. The MASH depressurized its front section, and Guillaume. Hugo and I exited. Ducky remained aboard as local Cap-Com.
Hugo captured images of the MASH operating in the stunning deep red terrain around Kissing Camel.
Guillaume and I walked along the base of the nearby ridge, and we took turns piloting a drone capturing high resolution video of the magnificent geology, stunning rock formations, views and vistas around Kissing Camel. We captured drone footage of the Baby Dragon rock formation and captured a fly through of a valley full of dried stream beds flanked by gorgeous red and purple striped Martian hills.
We could have spent all day out there admiring the beauty of the area.
While capturing the fly through of the valley, we received word that the MASH was having a problem. Unexpectedly, after parking, the MASH control panel showed a “check engine light” and the engine would not start. Ducky contacted Cap-com and consulted with them about the situation. Cap-com informed Mission Support, and options were discussed. Ducky suited up, depressurized, checked fluids and added oil to the engine, remaining fully in-sim the entire time.
Hugo was pleased to capture an unexpected situation, and though it did not develop into a full “emergency,” it provided him with some moments of true drama and concern.
All parties having captured their video and completed their tasks on the EVA, we boarded, repressurized and returned to MDRS in the comfort of the pressurized MASH interior.
Upon returning, Ducky harvested fresh sunflower greens, broccoli greens and radish greens for the evening meal.
Roger Gilbertson (crew commander) successfully modified his plaster mold, then melted down the third bismuth part, and recast it. He then trimmed the pieces, and performed a test assembly of an icosahedron.
Back in the Science Dome, Guillaume performed another sampling of his purple bacteria from the bioreactor bags, and was pleased to find that the bacteria growth had reached a plateau in growth. The bacteria had multiplied in numbers to the greatest possible extent inside the confines of the bioreactor bags, indicating a successful end to his experiment for this mission.
The crew started cleaning, packing and preparing the holiday dinner and for our departure from MDRS.