[title Mid-mission Research Report – January 27th]
Crew 291 – Expedition Boomerang III
Jan 21st – Feb 3rd, 2024
Commander: Andrew Wheeler
Health and Safety Officer: Steve Hobbs
Crew Scientist: Clare Fletcher
Crew Engineer and Green Hab Officer: Scott Dorrington
Crew Astronomer and Medical support: Rob Hunt
Crew Journalist: Alex Tobal
Title: Geological mapping and sensor deploy
Investigators: Andrew Wheeler, Clare Fletcher, Steve Hobbs and Scott Dorrington,
with full-crew participation.
Objectives:The mission objectives are to revisit geologically interesting locations, deploy sensors to characterize mineralogy, locate them in the topography for navigation purposes and characterize the sites for preservation.
Current Status: Two sensors were meant to be deployed and were scheduled for EVA 3. One, a solar logger previously deployed during the FMARS15 mission in July/August 2023, was successfully positioned outside the science dome in view of the panoramic window. The second sensor, an electronic Stevenson Screen with multiple environmental sensors, was unable to be initiated due to circuitry burnout in the secondary battery pack and an, so far untraced, electrical fault in the primary battery pack, has not been deployed at this time.
A robotic rover has been deployed on five occassions to test wheel traction at various slope angles at locations near to and remote from the hab. On two occasions a portable spectrometer was deployed to collect data from various lithologies. There are expected to be more EVAs in support of this project.
The geological boundaries that influence the geomorphology and topography surrounding the MDRS have been visited on six occassions in search of unmapped outcrops of the target rocks and minerals – gypsum, carbonate concretions, fossil beds and horizons containing petrified wood. Previously mapped locations have been revisited and plotted into a GIS for reference by follow on crews. Constraints imposed by the cold weather on the rovers have prevented expeditions to the more remote locations. There are more EVAs planned to support this project.
As part of the geological EVAs, map reading and compass bearings are taken to prominent features that can be viewed from multiple directions. The ability to accurately triangulate position to prominent features is designed to build confidence in non compass navigation as a failsafe/backup to GPS/satellite navigation. More EVAs in support of this project are planned.
EVAs: 11 EVAs have been carried out. EVAs 1 and 2 were training exercises for the whole crew. Three EVAs have been conducted in and around the hab. Three EVAs have been conducted to the south and southeast and three EVAs have been conducted to the north and northeast.
Title: Monitoring Solar activity
Author: Rob Hunt
Objectives: The MDRS solar observatory will be utilized for the daily monitoring of
Current Status: Total cloud cover during the day has prevented the operation of the solar observatory until Sol 6 and this day was spent working through the idiosyncracies.
Title: Investigations for establishment of MARS-Oz in Australia.
Author: Alexander Tobal
Objectives: This project is focused on collecting observations of how analogue
astronauts operate under simulated conditions and how the MDRS hab setout
influences operations and if improvements can be incorporated into the MARS-Oz
Current Status: Observations of the activities of the analogue astronauts as they carry out their activities inside and outside the habhave been collated and summarised in a living document and is ongoing.