Crew 197 arrives at the MDRS in 10 days!

Crew 197 (VR CrowdExplorers)

Overall Goals of Mission

  1. Create a research whitepaper for using VR to train analog simulation participants.
  2. Pilot out MarsVR Training scenarios and script/enact new scenarios.
  3. Update interior/exterior scans for MarsVR future releases.
  4. Capture video & 360 footage for future promotional videos.
  5. Prepare the station for beginning of field season.
    • Installation of new Donor & Memorial plaques. (James)
    • Start up some plants in the GreenHab.
    • Setup of new HAL workstation & displays. (James)
    • Updates to Internet Router firmware & configuration. (James)
    • Other logistical tasks.

Crew will be IN SIM starting the afternoon of Sol 1 (October 22).

MDRS Astronomy Team Refit – Sol 2

MDRS ASTRONOMY REFIT –  SOL 2

 

Crew

Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Jacob Wentzel

Adam Biel

 

Summary

At 3:14 this morning I woke up to some brilliant moonlight dancing across the Martian terrain through some passing clouds. It was around this time that Shannon emailed back about the generator, but without Internet I wouldn’t be able to get her message until morning when power would be restored by the solar system.  I was up at sunrise and did some tai chi in the desert to start the day.  After organizing my stateroom and the hab, the power came on at 7:45 AM.

I received Shannon’s email regarding the power issues.  I checked the oil again now that the engine was cool, and it was fine.  The coolant level was also fine (needed only about a half cup).  I started the generator and let it run for about 15 minutes with no problem.  By this time the solar panels were up to 89%. See the section under “Problems” for specific details.  We thought the problem was solved and we were well on our way.  However, the solar system shut down again with a low battery warning while we were in town.  Switched to generator, the crew has showered, and we’ll see how we do with the generator tonight.

So other than working with power issues we were successful in getting the rebar pointed by Dave from Rabbitbush.  The rebar stakes will secure the weather station tripod.  However, we were not successful in getting them in the ground; too much rock.  We decided the best method would be to concrete the pole in the ground.  We talked with Dave who is arriving tomorrow to pour some concrete for our weather station pole. Dave is also going to look at the generator.  Gary and I dug a hole in the ground removing lots of rock to prepare for tomorrow.  It will be a simple job.  The Davis weather station is operational and we looked at data streaming through on the computer.  Tomorrow we make it permanent.

The Bloomsky all sky camera runs off a solar panel and takes a picture of the sky every 5 minutes which it uploads to the web and can be viewed through your smartphone.  Anyone who downloads the free app can see the sky condition at MDRS, get weather data and see some of the campus as well.  At least that’s the theory.  I could not get it to connect.  I checked it at home and successfully ran it there for quite some time.  I’m suspecting a power issue in the unit, but it’s not picking up the internet from either the hab or the observatory.  I also can’t get it to charge, although that wasn’t a problem when I arrived.  It did charge the first day.  At this point it is a low priority, but I hope to have some time to work with it again before we leave.

Jacob will be putting his images of life at MDRS on Google Drive.  I hope to add some astronomical shots as the skies clear.  And that will happen. Clear skies are scheduled for the weekend.  But for now…my resident meteorologists- yes I have two of them, are arguing about the merits of the evening for testing the observatory.  There seems to be a milkshake involved in a bet, but to be honest I really don’t know how it ended up. They were talking about percentages of how much clear sky will be here at dawn.  They both agreed that tonight is not going to be a good night in the early evening, at least not until midnight or later.  A storm did drop some rain, and the winds have picked up considerably.  As we approach 2200 hours it’s currently overcast and windy.  August 4th then will be the test to put the MDRS Robotic Observatory online.

-Peter Detterline

 

PROBLEMS

Power Issues: Generator started fine.  Added only a half cup of coolant- doesn’t seem to be the problem. Oil level is fine.

For the solar system there is a fault light on the main panel.  Shannon was contacted about the situation. The three inverter panels all showed an F07 fault.  Jacob and I worked with Shannon throughout the midday assessing the problem and working a solution. It turns out the battery temperature was too high. After cooling down the batteries Shannon had me reset each inverter.  That seemed to do the trick.  We’re hoping this issue is resolved.  The fault light on the main panel may be indicative of the generator not being in auto mode.

The solar system power went out again around dinnertime while we were in town with no real load on the system.  The panel read LOW BATTERY. I turned on the generator, and we’ll see how well it does for the night.  It will be some good data for Dave tomorrow.

Bloomsky: the unit is not connecting to the Internet. It does not work with a 5G system, but we have both here.  We may have to abandon this all sky camera.

MDRS Astronomy Team Refit – Sol 1

MDRS ASTRONOMY REFIT –  SOL 1

 

Crew

Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Adam Jones

Jacob Wentzel

Adam Biel

 

Summary

The five of us arrived in Hanksville around 3:30 PM.  We had an early dinner, since we didn’t want to go back to town once we reached MDRS. There is a lot of smoke in the sky, and the temperature is 100 degrees; it’s almost paradise, but I was hoping for some clear skies.

We arrived at the Mars hab and got things moved in fairly quickly. I got the swamp cooler working and we filled the tank upstairs with water.  Food items were stored, and I opened the observatory dome remotely.  Everything is working fine.  Adam Jones had the task of setting up the Davis Weather Station while I worked with the Bloomsky all sky camera.  Adam installed the weather software and got the unit to connect.  However the rebar stakes to anchor the pier into the ground are flat and not edged and so we couldn’t get them deep enough.  We’ll have to take them into town tomorrow to see if we can get them sharpened.  So we couldn’t finish the install and brought the weather station in for the night. The other Adam and Jacob are videographers and both of them were taking all sorts of shots.  I will say one thing.  The Astronomy Refit 2018 will be very well documented.

During all this the power went out.  The system is run by solar.  I checked the status and it showed that the batteries were at 77%. The system is supposed to shut off around there, but it was only on for 2 hours.

I turned on the generator and we were back in business.  We’ll, at least for about two hours until the generator shut off!  The large fuel drum showed slightly less than half a tank, no issue there.  Checked the oil and it was fine.  There was a little steam and the radiator was hot.  Out of coolant?  Too hot to open.  Sent an email out to MDRS apprising them of the situation, however with the internet down I doubt I’ll get a response until tomorrow.

So I gathered the Crew and explained the situation.  It’s getting dark, there are clouds and the winds are picking up.  There are snacks but no dinner.  No showers tonight either, and we’re going to sleep outside; too hot inside. Gary and Jacob are on cots.  The two Adams are on the ground.  And for myself… I’m in a hammock.

I lay here looking skyward seeing huge dark voids with a splattering of stars in odd arrangements.  Gary says he felt a drop of rain.  I’m not worried.  Mars is shining brightly through the haze, and that’s a good omen.  We had our snafu for this mission. Tomorrow is going to be an amazing day.

-Peter Detterline

 

PROBLEMS

Generator issue.  Solar system should restore some power tomorrow.  We need the generator working.

MDRS Photogrammetry Scans Completed

The MarsVR team has completed their scans of the MDRS facilities and terrain.  Several Matterport 360 walkthoughs are already available, and the team will be working this summer to create the full photo-realistic VR environment for MDRS crew training, that will be put into use for next field season.

Read More

Call for help on VR project – June 19th – 25th

Hi all,
To support the creation of a VR environment for future MDRS crew training and research, we will be conducting scans and drone operations at the MDRS starting on June 19th for around a week.  We’d like to get help from a past crewmember at the MDRS.  Please let us know if you are interested in helping out with our project – we can work out your travel arrangements.  Please forward this to anybody that might be interested in participating.
More info on our project is at: http://marsvr.io

Thanks,

James Burk

Program Manager, MarsVR

marsvr@marssociety.org

Operations Report – June 4th

SOL: 0

Name of person filing report: Shannon Rupert

Non-nominal systems: Do you believe in magic? Because at this very moment, we have no non-nominal systems! (Knock wood)

Notes on non-nominal systems: Happy dance!

Generator (hours run): Turned off at 8 am, will turn back on at 8 pm

Solar—100 % SOC

Diesel – 50 %

Propane – 58 psi.

Ethanol Free Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV) –Not checked

Water (trailer) –450 gallons.

Water (static) – 450 gallons

Trailer to Static Pump used – no

Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Water Meter: not recorded

Toilet tank emptied: yes, and flushed twice by filling and emptying.

ATV’s Used: Yes

Oil Added? no

ATV Fuel Used: n/a

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 1

Notes on ATVs: Mostly moving around, some training. Need new bolts for new battery for 300.

Deimos rover used: Yes

Hours:134.0

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge:100

Currently charging: no

Sojourner rover used: No

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Spirit rover used: yes

Hours: 42.3

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: no

Hours: 31.7

Beginning charge: 100

Ending charge: 100

Currently charging: yes (NOTE: Driver’s seat is bent, should be replayed by one from Phobos)

Curiosity rover used: yes

Hours: 39.0

Beginning charge: 97

Ending charge: still being used

Currently charging: No

HabCar used and why, where? Yes, to get water and move things from MDRS to town, also trash

General notes and comments: The Korean Project began last evening as the first of the team arrived. We did some generally cleaning. This morning the transformation began. We have 40 plus people on site. The Hab was given some snazzy upgrades in terms of lower deck tables and upper deck kitchen. An airstream was brought in to serve as their production center and is parked on the opposite side of the GreenHab and tunnel. Four motorhomes, a bathroom trailer, water truck and large generator are now parked in my yard. Tomorrow they are putting in a misting shelter. I am looking forward to this as I can’t use my AC due to their power needs.

Cameras have been installed everywhere. Portable toilets have all been removed from campus and URC sites.

Summary of internet: Nothing to report

Summary of suits and radios: The crew installing small cameras on the new faceplates and understand that if there is any damage they will be charged $50 per faceplate.

Summary of Hab operations: The AC (swamp cooler) has been installed on the upper deck and it was working wonderfully until the crew emptied the water tank. I got it up and running again but not sure if the water is working correctly. I will check later.

Summary of GreenHab operations: 50 plus new plants growing food will be installed in the GreenHab this evening for use by the crew for food. Plants were grown off station for this project,.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Lab fridge is clean, both fridge and freezer were relocated to the lab table and off the floor. New lamp left by the WMS crews was installed and looks great.

Summary of RAM operations: The tool box on the lower deck was relocated to its new home in the RAM. We have cleaned the RAM for the filming but it is not organized properly.

Summary of health and safety issues: Because so much trash was generated by the URC, we burned it and now have a bit of a mess to clean up. Broken and burned glass and metal needs to be removed and taken to town.

The road is so sand pitted now that we had many people stuck today.

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: Nothing at this time

Operations Report – May 31st

SOL: 31May2018

Name of person filing report: Shannon Rupert

Non-nominal systems: Only me! Only me!

Notes on non-nominal systems: This morning I took on the power system again. I changed two settings on the AC controls to what I believed meant the solar took precedence over the generator for delivery of power to the generator. I had been working on this system without any improvement for so long that I didn’t give it another thought except that I would have to keep running the generator as the SOC fell during the day. But it never fell! We are back on solar power. I’m not declaring complete victory yet, but I am hopeful. In addition, the contractor will be here on Saturday to go over the system with me.

Generator (hours run): Turned off at 8 am, will turn back on at 8 pm

Solar—100 % SOC

Diesel – not checked %

Propane – not checked psi.

Ethanol Free Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV) –Not checked

Water (trailer) – 0 gallons.

Water (static) – not checked gallons

Trailer to Static Pump used – no

Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used – yes

Water Meter: not recorded

Toilet tank emptied: yes. I intended to flush it again and have no one use it until the tv crew arrives. But people used it anyway. So I have to do it again. Sigh.

ATV’s Used: Yes

Oil Added? Yes

ATV Fuel Used: n/a

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 1

Notes on ATVs: We just used them to block the driveway today so people did not drive up to the Hab.

Deimos rover used: Yes

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: no

Sojourner rover used: Yes

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: no

Spirit rover used: yes

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Opportunity rover used: no

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: yes

Curiosity rover used: No

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging: No

HabCar used and why, where? No

General notes and comments: AC to GreenHab completed. AC in Hab not yet installed.

Today was the first full day of the URC and my judging duties kept me from working on the things I had hoped to do. They will have to wait, too tired tonight to do anything more.

Summary of internet: Nothing to report

Summary of suits and radios: Suits in RAM. Six remaining new radios put into service.

Summary of Hab operations: Chaos reigns.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Water was hooked up to the swamp cooler so we now have AC in the greenhouse. URC operations on lower deck.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: URC operations happened today. We discovered that the fridge in the lab is filled with moldy petri dishes. I will clean it out in the morning before we start the URC events,

Summary of RAM operations: Nothing to report

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: Nothing at this time