Nicole Chan, Crew 290 Journalist
Our crew awoke feeling rested for the long day ahead. We have two target sample selection sites for today’s EVA #7, to be led by Rebecca (Chopper), Ben (Funk), Anna (Roots), and myself (PODO). But before that, we need to prepare solutions to test the pH of the soil samples in the field. So, the crew went off to the ScienceDome to begin preparations. Madelyn (Melon) reviewed geological notes of the Candor Chasma region to give the EVA crew an idea of what a viable sample collection site could look like. Meanwhile, Chopper led Anja (Freebee) on loading the microfluidic devices with the samples from Sol 4. We found more pH meters! As Funk and I calibrated them, we realized that their functionality will make them suitable for the field, which made today’s EVA data even more fruitful.
After a lunch of pasta, the EVA crew suited up and drove the rovers to Candor Chasma. The road was bumpy but made for a fun (but also safe) ride. Upon reaching the area around Compass Rock, the crew decided to disembark and start searching for viable sites. We were looking for strips of darker red soil layered by white layers which denote gypsum deposits (where there could be signs of life!). After selecting a site, we got to work taking temperature, ATP, and pH measurements of the soil. We also took soil samples to see if there are any signs of microbial life too. As the clouds were rolling in and it was nearing sunset, we stepped up our measurements at our second site as well before heading back to the Hab. We returned on time and got to share our findings with the rest of the crew.
The crew has also put their heads together to flesh out the science protocols for processing these samples to best maintain consistency and get statistically significant results (with limited chemical supplies as well). We found great workarounds that still maintain the fidelity of our tests so we’ll be busying ourselves with those measurements and imaging in the coming days. Tomorrow, however, will be our rest day. After an Earth week of getting situated and gathering samples, it’s a well-deserved break for all of us. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report to see what kind of fun things we’ll get up to!
Photo of the Day: pHenomenalogy studies.JPG