Nicole Chan, Crew 290 Journalist
Today is a special day! Madelyn (Melon) informed us in the crew debrief last night that Sol 4 is where we’ll have our first showers on Mars. How exciting! The crew began the day with rehydrated coconut milk and cereal (another great Earth-meal remake). With EVA #5 scheduled to begin at 0900, the crew helped with suit up before EVA crew Anna (Roots) and Anja (Freebee) went on a productive engineering EVA with Melon on CAPCOM. Roots made repairs to the rover rear-view mirrors which were loose. Then, the two of them successfully built a dirt ramp for an easier exit of the RAM for REMI on future EVAs. Over comms, it sounded pretty physically demanding but the EVA crew worked effectively on their task and were successful!
In the meantime, Ben (Funk) recorded a significant harvest of red cabbage, arugula, and kale from the GreenHab (did someone say salad?). After returning to Hab, he began cooking a very tasty lunch of spaghetti with meatballs and tomato sauce. The crew licked our plates clean in approval. At this time, half of our crew (Funk, Freebee and Rebecca (Chopper)) completed their bucket showers. They had varied levels of success but also tips to save water on future showers (I began taking notes of course). As the crew dispersed for our afternoon tasks, Melon, Chopper, and Freebee put their heads together to plan out future EVAs and science equipment training for the crew. They were able to optimize crew task time and science sample output.
At 1430, the crew gathered in the ScienceDome to get a rundown of how to use the pH meter and the microscope. This will be an important component for our Project MADMEN science objectives. At 1500, the science equipment onboarding process began with Freebee, Funk and myself getting trained on the process of loading the Microfluidic Devices with the diluted soil samples from EVA #4. We took turns practicing in the laminar flow hood and examining the processed Microfluidic Devices under the microscope. It felt pretty rewarding to produce a properly flushed LB agar and take pictures of what is under the slide. We hope that any microbes present in the soil will have a happy time living in the nutrients in the next few days. We sure hope to be able to identify them.
As the sun is setting, the crew continues with their tasks and preparing their reports for the Comms window. We have been settling into a good routine so far, juggling MADMEN science tasks, individual roles, exercising, personal and crew socializing time. Overall, we have been making good progress on our research timeline as well as our consumables. Besides settling into our routines, we’ve been settling well into our roles too. Whenever we have any engineering issues pop up, Roots locates the source of the problem and works with Mission Support to make sure our Hab runs smoothly. Whenever it nears the mealtimes, Funk (or sometimes Freebee) comes up with new and creative recipes to fill our days with tasty meals. Melon ensures that the crew stays on schedule (with work-life balance!) and keeps us on track every Sol. Chopper is a very knowledgeable biologist and works tirelessly to process our soil samples, all while training us on the equipment. Freebee takes great care of REMI (both in and out of EVAs), filling her time with not only data analysis but also brainstorming future meals with our Martian selection of ingredients with Funk. As PODO, I watch over their progress, making sure it all gets documented and of course sharing it with you all. We complement each other’s skills well and have bonded over many nighttime social activities and mealtime conversations. Morale is good and we’re all excited to get positive results on our science tests in the coming days.
Photo of the Day: 290-01_11_2024 living off the land.jpeg