Commander Report – January 28th

Sol: 7
Summary Title: A day of rest
Author’s name: Andrew Wheeler
Summary: Today was a down day for the 291 crew after spending a hectic and tiring 6 days climbing up the ridges and through the gullies surrounding the MDRS. Personal time to wash and clean clothes and a well deserved (though very short) shower was the order of the day. However it didn’t turn out that way. One crew member reported in with a severe migraine and another with a stomach upset. As for the rest of us, it was a quiet day mindful of our colleagues. Though the day dawned crisp (-5C) and clear, high cirrus cloud ruined any chance for astronomer Rob obtaining clear observations of the sun after missing out for most of last week. With the assistance of Clare during an early morning EVA, I returned the solar logger to its position outside the science dome, having recharged the battery to full. It should be good for a few more days. Whilst out on this EVA, we inspected the outside of the hab tunnels for micrometeorite damage and general state of repair.
In quiet mode, the mobile crew members discovered the Mars jigsaw puzzle and about completing the 999 piecer (it was a 1000 piece puzzle but the top left corner piece has disappeared!) to keep us occupied. In a herculean effort, the task was completed before dark and the back signed in accordance with the tradition. During dinner, an issue with the lower level gas heater was dealt with and reported to mission control.
As crew recover overnight, Sol 8 should see us refreshed for further exploration of the MDRS area and testing of robot equipment.

Commander Report – December 7th

Final Dispatch from Mars Desert Research Station: Analog Rotation #287

Sol #11
Title: Homeward Bound: Reflections and Aspirations
Author: Enkhtuvshin “Dono” Doyodkhuu

Today marks the conclusion of our simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station, and the atmosphere among Crew #287 is one of accomplishment and anticipation. The day kicked off at 7 AM with a communal breakfast featuring couscous soup, providing the sustenance needed for our final activities here on ‘Mars’.

Our last EVA was not merely a procedural act but a poignant chapter’s end; we walked a short distance north of our habitat, immortalizing our presence with photographs and drone footage, capturing the essence of our simulated sojourn on this alien terrain.

We shared meals with our on-site manager, Ben, and his delightful companion, Jewels, sharing stories, personal anecdotes, and laughter. The afternoon saw us immersed in a flurry of report writing and habitation cleaning—a meticulous preparation for the next crew, a tradition of legacy and respect among those who walk these halls.

Evening plans are set for a light-hearted comedy and game night, a tradition we’ve embraced to maintain morale. It’s activities like these that have kept us grounded, reminding us that exploration is as much about the human experience as it is about scientific achievement.

Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Netflix documentary crew tomorrow, to whom we’ll showcase the highlights of our mission. This engagement not only signifies our reconnection with Earth but also serves as a bridge to share our experiences with the world.

As we prepare to leave the station, our thoughts are with future missions and the continued collaboration between Mars Society chapters worldwide. The knowledge we’ve gained here is a stepping stone to the larger goal of Mars exploration—a multiplanetary existence for humanity.

Our journey has been a microcosm of the challenges and triumphs that await in the vastness of space. It is with a sense of pride and a dash of nostalgia that we bid farewell to this chapter, ready to apply our learnings to the next phase of human space exploration.

Onward to new horizons, Crew #287 signs off with a unified voice: more cooperation, more exploration, and always forward—MARS for Everyone!

Commander Report – November 28th

Sol #2

Title: Getting Acquainted with Mars

Commander’s name: Enkhtuvshin "Dono" Doyodkhuu

Crew name: Alpha

Today was the first official day of our simulation. The crew woke up promptly in the morning, made breakfast, exercised, and meditated as a group. We have been listening to each other’s music in the mornings and evenings, which has been quite uplifting. The two test EVAs we did went as smoothly as it could, and we are excited for long-distance EVAs in the next couple days. The MARS-V analog suits we brought were comfortable and warm, and we imagine future Mars astronauts would wear something similar in design, excluding the LSS and temperature and pressure control. I am jotting down some of the findings from today’s activities:

· We should have a checklist of necessary preparation before every EVA:

1. COMMS check

2. Helmet check

3. Mesh equipment check

4. Start the track record

· We should do voice recordings during EVAs.

· Not being able to see the rear of the rover is quite difficult when driving. The mirror on the front is quite limiting. We should find a way around this if possible.

· Protective visor on the helmet would be great during sunny days.

· The size of the helmet being big is an advantage. It could be even bigger.

· The new MDRS helmet and LSS is ergonomically quite uncomfortable.

· The headset on the COMMS should be designed as a cap with a chin fastener to keep it steady.

· We had difficulties operating comms during EVAs since we had bulky gloves to simulate actual Mars suits. The talk button of the headset should be easily accessible. We should find a way to keep it at an easy-to-access location on the outside of the helmet.

· Temperature control inside the suits is desired.

We will keep noting our comments and remarks after every meal and EVA since the freeze-dried recipe and the analog suits are two of the priorities of this rotation. Over and out.

Commander Report – May 15th

Crew 281 Commander’s Report 15-05-2023
SOL: 1
Commander: Megan Kane
Sol 1, the first day of Team Pegasus’s mission. The crew started waking at dawn, excited for the first day on Mars. Many activities were planned and conducted. Some went as planned, others not so much. However today was a success as we learned, adapted and began settling into the mission.
During our first EVA’s we tested the geotechnical equipment and the procedures that are the bedrock of our crew scientist’s mission. Learning a lot in the process. A soup lunch was followed by an afternoon of habitat tasks and experiment setup culminating in a delicious dinner of quesadillas dipped in the leftover soup.
After a full evening of filing reports and consolidating photos we plan to rest before launching into Sol 2.
Commander Kane signing off.

Journalist Report – February 5th

Crew 274 Journalist Report 2-5-2023

Sol: 7

Author: Tony DiBernardo, Crew Journalist

Title: The Long Hike

Crew 274 woke up this morning at 7:30am to the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” by John Denver. The crew got their surveys done, then made sure to get a decent breakfast before their 3-hour EVA.

EVA Activity

Today, HSO Pender and Hab Specialist O’Hara conducted a 3-hour EVA past the supply cache and back. The original EVA plan was to hike an hour to the supply cache, resupply their personal food and water from the cache, then hike 30 more minutes before turning around and hiking 1.5 hours back to the hab. They reached the cache early at the 47-minute mark due to them taking flat roads rather than the originally planned rocky terrain, but eventually found a more consistent and realistic pace on the way back. Supporting their EVA was Commander Guthrie and Journalist DiBernardo. They performed a “leap-frog” maneuver during the EVA, where they would drive the rover past the hiking crew and stop just before losing sight of them. Then, Pender and O’Hara would hike past the parked rover and just before they got out of site, Guthrie and DiBernardo would catch up in the rover and drive past them, only stopping just before losing sight again. This technique was used to reserve rover battery power as well as ensure a safe EVA for the crew on their longest hike of the mission. The EVA was a success, and apart from a couple of cars and hikers driving and passing by, the EVA went as expected.


Following the exciting germination of one LDEF seed yesterday, Greenhab Officer Hines, did his daily collection and observations of germination from the other seeds.. While no additional progress has been noted in other LDEF seeds, multiple sets of seeds that are yet to germinate were removed from the growth tent, placed in wet paper towels, and moved them into the GreenHab to utilize the higher temperatures and humidity in order to potentially germinate leading into the second half of the mission. Additionally, the cress microgreens have continued to make significant progress, with the red cabbage and broccoli making gradual yet minimal continued germination.


Crew astronomers Pena and Loy’s observations of heliophysics phenomena were significantly impaired by the site’s cloudy weather. Nevertheless, some useful data on solar dark spots and solar prominences were collected and analyzed. These observations will be very useful for the astronomer’s analysis of peak solar cycle 25. So far, 220,000 image points have been collected, and 50,000 images have been processed and analyzed.


Cloudy weather conditions canceled all planned observations of HADS Variable Star V0799 AUR. Crew Astronomers instead continued their analysis of their current image inventory, stacking and analyzing 12 separate 60-second images in the visual filter. So far, HADS Variable Star V0799 AUR is showing signs of dimming, which provides good data to the astronomers’ variable star report.

Stress Mitigation Study

Last night, the crew began their participation in Crew Engineer Lojeks’ study of tracking the stress levels of six of the crew members while practicing breathing and mindfulness techniques as a potential mitigation of stress in analog environments. He spoke with the crew about why he is pursuing this study, how to enter into this type of meditation and guided them through a 15-minute breathing exercise.

Commander Report – December 8th

Sol: 11
Summary Title: EVA #15 Balloon Launch
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 enjoyed another day of beautiful weather on Mars with sunny skies, very calm winds, and mild temperatures. The crew had a quick breakfast of cereal, dried fruit, and homemade sourdough bread, and HSO collected health and safety stats. The crew held a morning meeting to assess effects to the day’s EVA plan due to the melt from yesterday’s snow continuing to create muddy conditions around the Hab. After consult with Tier 1 mission support, the crew’s plan for a single afternoon EVA to launch the weather balloon payload was confirmed and the crew prepared for the experiment. CDR, XO, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #15 and immediately began to set up and fill the weather balloon with helium in the area in front of the Hab. Once the balloon fill was complete, the crew walked the balloon around to the north side of the Hab just beyond the observatory to conduct the launch. A technical hiccup with the telemetry was successfully resolved, and the balloon launched at 1:45 PM. The crew immediately began receiving telemetry from the weather balloon and was in contact with the balloon over eastern Utah and western Colorado for several hours. During the EVA, Engineer received further instruction from the PI for the mirror experiment who wished to have one more microscope analysis before packing up the mirrors tomorrow for return to Aerospace. IVA crew requested and received permission from Tier 1 mission support to add an additional objective to EVA #15 to retrieve the mirror samples from their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual and return them to the Hab for analysis. After the EVA, Engineer analyzed the mirror samples under the Aerospace microscope in the Science Dome and Green Hab Officer tended the plants in the Green Hab. For dinner, the crew enjoyed shepherd’s pie. The crew plans to break simulation tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM to complete a live STEM event, photography/videography session, and end of mission cleanup activities.

Commander Report – December 7th

Sol: 10
Summary Title: Snow Day and EVA #14
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 awoke to a winter wonderland landscape this morning and snowy conditions. The crew enjoyed a quiche bake for breakfast and conducted a morning meeting to discuss how the weather would affect the day’s EVA plans. After a consultation with Tier 1 mission support, the crew decided to shorten the morning EVA #14 and continue to send 2 crew to perform repair operations on the mirror coating experiment payload. HSO and Engineer traversed on foot through the muddy terrain to repair the mirror payload and return swiftly to the Hab, while Green Hab Officer lead IVA comms. During the EVA, CDR and XO discussed end of mission reporting requirements and began to create content for those reports while Technology Officer continued to work data processing on the Aerospace computers. In the afternoon, HSO collected health and safety stats, crew completed exercise protocols, and Green Hab Officer tended to the plants in the Green Hab. Power was again limited due to weather conditions and the crew followed Tier 1 support instructions to conserve power. For dinner, the crew enjoyed black bean burgers on homemade sourdough buns with microgreens from the Green Hab.

Commander Report – December 6th

Sol: 9
Summary Title: EVAs #12 and #13
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of great weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds, with morning to midday cloud cover and a sprinkle of rain. The crew awoke early this morning and enjoyed a quick breakfast of cereal, oatmeal, and dried fruit. After a morning planning meeting, XO, HSO, and Technology Officer conducted the morning EVA (#12) for the purpose of flying the drone and to continue demonstrating the VR/AR headset in the area around the Hab and along Cow Dung Rd. to Marble Ritual. During the morning EVA, Engineer and Green Hab Officer exchanged the furnace filter and changed the battery on space suit #6. Upon return of the EVA #12 crew, and after a quick lunch, CDR, Engineer, and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #13 south on Cow Dung Rd. and then on foot on Rte 1101 to Barrainca Butte for the purpose of regolith sample collection, radiation environment measurements, and handheld ham radio comm checks. Throughout the day, the crew was updated on the status of the power system by Tier 1 support and entered various levels of power conservation as directed. In the afternoon, HSO collected health stats, crew completed exercise protocols, and conducted a test of the weather balloon payload scheduled to launch later this week. For dinner the crew enjoyed pesto pasta with vegetables with homemade sourdough bread.

Commander Report – December 5th

Sol: 8
Summary Title: EVAs #10 and #11
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. Green Hab Officer made blueberry pancakes for breakfast with bourbon maple syrup. After a morning planning meeting, CDR, XO, and HSO conducted EVA #10. The first objective of the EVA was to traverse on foot to retrieve the mirror coating experiment samples from their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual and return the samples to the airlock for analysis under microscope in the Science Dome by Engineer. The EVA then proceeded on rovers to Kissing Camel Ridge, then on foot up to Hab Ridge Rd. for the purpose of regolith sample collection and radiation environment monitoring. After EVA #10 crew returned to the Hab, Engineer and Green Hab Officer embarked on EVA #11, traversing on foot to return the mirror coating experiment samples to their exposure location across Cow Dung Rd. from Marble Ritual. The EVA then proceeded on foot to Sagan St. for the purpose of a handheld ham radio range test with the Hab. The handheld ham radios maintained clear communications on the 2 meter band at a further distance from the Hab than was possible using the EVA radios. During the afternoon EVA, HSO conducted in-depth troubleshooting of the Hab toilet (details can be found in the operations report for today), and Technology Officer conducted troubleshooting of the VR/AR headset in preparation for future EVAs. In the early evening, Green Hab Officer harvested microgreens, HSO collected crew health stats, and the crew took turns completing their exercise protocols. For dinner, the crew enjoyed chicken jambalaya with homemade sourdough bread and a microgreen salad. After dinner, the crew met to discuss prioritizing the remaining mission objectives to ensure maximum science return with the time remaining.

Commander Report – December 4th

Sol: 7
Summary Title: EVA #9 and Suit Troubleshooting
Author’s name: Dr. Kristine Ferrone, Commander
Mission Status: Nominal
Commander’s Report:

Crew 269 experienced another day of beautiful weather on Mars with mostly mild temperatures, sunny skies, and light high-altitude clouds. The crew enjoyed an egg, cheese, and vegetable casserole for breakfast. After a morning planning meeting, HSO collected crew health stats. CDR, Technology Officer, and Green Hab Officer conducted a short EVA in the early afternoon to deploy the ham radio antenna and fly two drone flights around the Hab and around the mirror coating experiment sample location. Fortunately, winds were light today, so the drone was able to successfully complete both flights. During the EVA, Engineer and HSO completed troubleshooting of the two-piece EVA suits and determined that the power strip the charging cables were plugged into had gone bad. They completed further tests with various combinations of suits, batteries, and chargers to ensure all six suits are now charging and holding charge properly. The crew relaxed a bit in the afternoon, reading, knitting, working on art projects, and sharing photos and stories. For dinner, the crew enjoyed tacos with homemade tortillas and baked a cake to celebrate the midpoint of their mission.

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