Summary Title: The Case for Hybrid Mars
Author’s name: Enkhtuvshin “Dono” Doyodkhuu
Mission Status: Nominal
Sol Activity Summary: We decided last night during our daily meeting to stay flexible with the sim from now on until the end of our rotation. We will be performing hybrid EVAs with 2 of the members in suit, with the accompanying one without a suit. We realize this is not ideal for the purposes of MDRS operations, but our goal is to explore around as much as possible, and effectively operate the drone during the EVAs. Crew HSO also warned me that the physical toll of in-sim EVAs on two of our crew members is high, and I want them to experience the environment as much as possible during their time at MDRS.
The crew woke up today at 6 AM and made our first crew log. We discussed everything starting from how we received the invite to MDRS, how the preparation went, the support from our sponsors and collaborators, the trip to the US, and what we experienced and learned since coming to Mars. The breakfast early in the morning was simple quick oats at 6:30 AM and fried eggs around 8 AM. We have been using the food provided to us by the station here and there, mixing it with the freeze-dried food we brought.
The morning ritual has been set in stone for the crew. We exercised together, did breathing exercises afterwards, and meditated. This was the most active we have been in the morning since coming here, and the sleep quality of the crew is improving drastically. We have been measuring our sleep quality with the smart watch, and the deep sleep time reached over 6 hours the past two days.
The EVA preparation today commenced around 9:30 AM. As usual, we check our comms, suits, helmets, and tracker, and head out to the field. The drone operation today was experimental at best, and we plan to improve the maneuverings from here on out. We notified Ben that we were going with the hybrid EVA plan prior to heading out, and he was kind enough to be flexible with us. The crew headed out to Compass Rock and spent around 40 minutes out of contact, but apparently it is a known issue around that site. Crew geologist identified four different muddy soil types to test out making building blocks, but the site they reached on foot had abundant vegetation, so we’re postponing the gathering of soil samples for the next two days.
We had fried beef with lettuce for lunch after the EVA. Dinner was prepared by the crew psychologist, Tungaa, and she made a delicious fried beef with potatoes and carrots, with brown rice on the side. In the RAM, Muggi and Duluu made aeroponic planting equipment for the Greenhab and are planning to test it out tomorrow. We are now planning to play a team game to test out our crew psychology, and everyone is very much looking forward to it.
The crew has officially adapted to the environment, the station, and their new lifestyle, and are starting to have fun, listening to music and dancing during the day, exercising whenever time allows, and making full use of different parts of the station. The only inaccessible part of the station right now is the observatory, and I have inquired Peter whether it would be possible to grant me a late permission to use the telescope. I plan to take the test and send a proposal promptly tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve noticed today that the crew has gotten much more proficient at running things around here, preparing for the EVA with zero mistakes, directing the CapComm with professionalism, and preparing delicious meals for 6 within 20 minutes. The reports were cumbersome at the beginning, but we have gotten used to it.
Our two biggest areas of water usage were taking showers and washing dishes. We are now using buckets to take showers, with everybody taking one every 3-4 days, and are conserving and saving the water when washing dishes. We are saving the water even when washing hands. Hopefully this resolves our water consumption problem.
It has already been almost a week since arriving here, and we’ve noticed that adaptation has taken the majority of our time. Looking at the performance of the crew today, I’ve gained a bit of confidence that we may even be able to survive on actual Mars, provided that Mars Direct commences within our lifetime.
Look Ahead Plan: Crew psychologist, Tungaa, is also trained in microbiology. She and Davaa are planning to take several soil samples to start a few elementary microbiological experiments. Geologist Davaa is planning on testing out different materials to determine which is best for making building blocks. The EVAs for the next two days will be for taking soil samples. Greenhab officer Duluu will try out her new aeroponic equipment tomorrow. Muggi has already come up with a novel design for a Mars analog helmet and is now planning to design a general structure for a Mars analog station with the support of Davaa. Sunny has been actively engaging in public outreach; the interest and support back home amongst the MARS-V community has been incredible and uplifting. We are in the process of finalizing our plans and logistics for our trip back home. Hopefully we won’t be tired to our bones before the long journey back to Earth.
Anomalies in work: None
Weather: Sunny with a bit of cloud cover. Seems like it might rain tonight, but the weather station says otherwise.
Crew Physical Status: All healthy and happy.
EVA: Performed one successful EVA today to Compass Rock.
Reports to be filed: Sol summary, Journalist report, Operations report, Greenhab report, EVA report, EVA request, Photos.
Support Requested: We would like the crew car to be made available to us on Sol 11 which is December 7th for the purposes of out-of-sim exploration around the station.