Commander Report – April 23rd

Commander, PHEnOM Gold Crew, MDRS #193

Mission Sol 1 (Earth Day April 23rd, 2018)

We arrived on Mars very early in the morning, well rested and brimming with excitement to explore the red planet and begin our research.
After a few hours of settling down, we started the day off with an EVA.
A task given to us by Mission Control was to scout for locations suitable for the crew to take shelter in during emergencies like dust storms, radiation storm or incapacitated crew member. Both our morning and afternoon EVAs focused on this task.

We had freshly baked banana bread and chicken noodle soup for lunch. Yes, I have been experimenting with my culinary skills on Mars and its been challenging to cook using the dehydrated items available, but for a person who loves cooking its been fun experimenting.

Our afternoon EVA got interesting when we were informed by base of a request from Mission Support to rescue the astronomer in the observatory. After rescuing him and making sure he was safe, we returned to our next EVA task of fixing and putting up the signpost for the site that had been blown away during the storms in the past couple of weeks. Kudos to our Crew Engineer, whose engineering skills and muscle power made this task seem easier after a three and a half hour!

The Crew Engineer and me plan on constructing and designing a new signpost for the MDRS site bringing his engineering and my artistic skills together.

The crew has been doing well and is looking forward to the next few days with great enthusiasm. Spirits are high and passion great for this mission. We plan to tidy up the hab, continue work on our projects and EVA’s and contribute to valuable research that will lead up to Martian colonization in the near future.

Signing off for the day!

Have a great one Mission Support!
Warm Regards
Commander, PHEnOM Gold Crew, MDRS #193
(Anima Patil-Sabale)

Commander Report – April 20th

Joseph Dituri
20 April 18

Woke to a great breakfast and a happy crew….hapoy to both clean and do final EVAs. During EVA crew left behind … ALL field day-ed lower and upper HAB inside moving all furniture.

Despite having been exceptionally clean within the HAB…another pack rat showed up. Verified not the same one as before although simular. It was caught in a glue trap on 3rd upper deck. It did not survive the ordeal and was disposed of.

Dusted all flat surfaces. Organized shelves near bathroom and downstairs and cleaned what could be cleaned.

Great geology and views. Returned from second (and final) exploration EVA and had pizza and pasta for the last supper in SIM.

IMPRESSED We are impressed with PHEnOM mission support Jamie. Thank you for getting us here! BZ Jamie and PHEnOM.

Crew intends to depart area at 0800 on Sunday.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn! Last Commander’s report.

~Dituri sends

Warm Regards,

Joseph Dituri, PhD(c)
CDR, U.S. Navy Diving Officer (ret)

Director – IBUM

Commander Report – April 19th

Joseph Dituri
19 Apr 18

The crew awoke in superb spirits. We conducted additional map training and MTU coordinate system training as well as topographical map indoctrination.

EVA team one left at 0800 with a compass and copy of map to ensure walking directions. Remaning crew did a full field day of sciemce HAB and it is standing by for inspection and for Korean film crew to use as staging area…as directed.

Additionally the stay behind team field day-ed lower portion of HAB and bathroom area. Finally we transferred ~450 gallons from 2nd storage tank to primary (black tank) leaving ~100 gallons in 2nd tank and black tank full. Also cleaned the water pump and pump container.

Inventoried, organized and cleaned 30 headphone / earpieces. Outatanding are 5 currently in use by our crew.

Afternoon EVA worked hard to remove water tank from the RAM and secure to MARS society trailer as mission complete on cleaning. They also cleaned RAM. The doctor recommends a test kit of sorts to ensure cleanliness prior to use and water consumption from container.

EVA CREW was a little tired / under the weather so they retreated to the HAB to do some training.

Did an inventory of all food and began prepping final report for end of mission.

IMPRESSED: Work ethic and “can do” spirit award goes to Andreea (Blue 03) who worked tirelessly on clean up, garden, bathroom and water transfer. BZ Blue 03.

POA&M: Intend on going out on EVAs tomorrow for final data collection and coming out of SIM not later than friday evening in preparation for cleaning and turnover wirh Gold crew.

~Dituri sends

Warm Regards,

Joseph Dituri, PhD(c)
CDR, U.S. Navy Diving Officer (ret)

Director – IBUM

Commander Report – April 17th

Joseph Dituri
17 Apr 18

Title: Just realized I did not file my taxes…ooops (a la Apollo 13) …;*)

Today started with a training and discussion on operational risk management. We use this at every turn before any evolution. We then proceeded to explore south by ATV. Prior to leaving we policed some wind blown scraps from around the HAB and secured them and the final skirt removal pieces on the Mars Society trailer. Upon return the team cleared and cleaned the tank in the RAM with hydrogen peroxide and final wipe with alcohol. When doc gives us go ahead we will return the tank to Mars Society’s trailer and call that cleaning task complete. Likely Wednesday.

Left over peanut butter cookies and dehydrated milk were a big hit upon return along with hot chocolate for the weary EVA goers who worked very hard.

Afternoon EVA explored the northen side of Lowell road up to 1572. There is no sign for road 1572 (route sign is blank) so we missed it. Came back to it and explored east side which is the redest area we have seen to date. We could see some more exciting exploration to the south so we moved south and climbed into east side of Lowell road by Tank wash which was fabulous exploration.

Macaroni and cheese for dinner and we have a great day in total.

IMPRESSED: I was impressed with the doctor’s knowledge and research when it came to decontaminating the water tank. Ashok (Blue 03) was on the spot when it came to rehab of the tank. BZ doc!

LEARNED: We need to schedule science/training in mid day gaps. More of a plan helps the crew pass time since we are short on science. See POA&M

POA&M: Intend to continue exploration of our northern areas tomorrow.

Training scheduled:
1. Psychology and crew selection – Doc and Commander
2. Suborbital mission profile – Rich Blakeman
3. Social Media – Victoria
~ Dituri sends

Commander Report – April 16th

Joseph Dituri

16 April 18

TITLE: There was a mouse about the house.

Last night the crew decided to play Coupe. This card game had us rolling for several hours. “Duke Money” was yelled myriad times and we fondly recalled our other team mates.

When we went to sleep one person noted a mouse going under the frig. XO set out a trap and we had a visitor by morning. We named him Paul Watney for our missing crew member and the Martian.

The morning EVA was a walking expedition to test exertion and fogging. We also hiked the ridge behind the HAB and made it to almost the next ridge…death march by Andreea.

Upon return we had a super brunch and the crew who stayed field day-ed the upper portion of the HAB …slowley we are moving every piece of furnature and cleaning behind or under it so that this place will be super clean at the end.

Afternoon EVA was curtailed….we changed it to a short EVA mission to drop off mouse Watney far enough away that he could not walk back. I did an Operational Risk Mitigation matrix and decided it was safe to proceed. We put two people in one Rover and proceeded. The wind kicked up a bit but it was safe and we got rid of the mouse. RTB coupled with some minor engineering tasks to ensure the cargo on Mars Society trailer would not fly free from increased wind.

Uneventful dinner and rest of the day …planning on resting a bit. We made peanut butter cookies. Yum.

IMPRESSED: I was impressed with Victoria ( Blue 04) who persevered on a death march up hill BOTH WAYS and got the best shit of the trip so far….what a photographer.

LEARNED: I leanred that the map at our disposal is more or less a “guide”….if it says “space suit road” that translates to unrecognizable path that goes up the hill…;*)

POA&M: Tomorrow keep cleaning the water tank and finish HAB skirt removal process. EVAs to look north and finish up south exploration.

~Dituri sends

Commander Report – April 15th

Terrific day of rest and training combined. Crew slept in and the pancakes were a big hit. We held extensive knot training on how and where to tie knots. The crew was maybe a little too enthused about tying things up… ;*)…..they all progressed to a single handed bowline rapidly. A simple life saving knot.

IMPRESSED: Great training and plan on the part of our Doc. (Blue 02- Ashok) He planned and executed a superb medical training plan without a hitch and everyone learned something.

LEARNED: Lessons from training include and are not limited to…reduce communication during work to that which is imperative because people need two hands to drive or work and it is difficult to respond when working if not essential. We need to do knot training regularly and we will every day. When towing an ATV heavy person should be on operating vehicle. We all learned….SLOW IS SMOOTH …AND SMOOTH IS FAST.

~Dituri sends

Warm Regards,

Joseph Dituri, PhD(c)
CDR, U.S. Navy Diving Officer (ret)

Commander Report


Great day of training / exploring.
Very productive EVAs continuing both our science (weight, muscle loss, suit fogging…) along with the work for Mars society…cleaning the water tank and removing the external skirt on the HAB.

The HAB skirt haa been removed “areas outside” our habitat. We will send a team and remove the skirt from the “inside areas” …for the purposes of our SIM ….at a later time and place on trailer along with other pieces. We cannot fit in area under fromt stairs in EVA suits so that area remains skirted.

Water tank needed some time to air out so doctor removed the cap and inspected. Intend to clean and put back on trailer early next week ready for service.

IMPRESSED: I continue to be impressed with the XO. He continues to be the voice of reason and chief moral officer. BZ Richard Blakeman.

LEARNED: Being a vegetarian by virtue of others around you being vegetarians…IS HARD. Yogi needs meat. Saw a cow on EVA….mmmmmm

POA&M….if approved by CAPCOM …would love to execute plan SCRAMBLE DOG.
Scramble dog consists of a half day “sleep in” partial day of rest for the crew ….XO and I are gonna make banana chocolate chip pancakes for the crew for beeakfast!!!!
Then… after noon …
medical training (short OJT by doctor) and a towing ATV exercise followed by movie night and an attempt at making dehydrated corn popcorn. Why NOT….;*)

Warm Regards,

Joseph Dituri, PhD(c)
CDR, U.S. Navy Diving Officer (ret)

Director – IBUM

Commander Report – April 13th

Happy Friday the 13th CAPCOM….Today we had two scheduled EVAs. We aborted one EVA due to a miscommunication on our part with mission control. Communication delays and network issues will always hamper us on Mars …we will persevere amd continue efforts to improve coms always.

The crew remains in good spirits and in my opinion a BUSY crew is a HAPPY crew. Since our EVA was aborted we took the opportunity to field day and straighten up the HAB. We organized the tool box placing tools correctly as written on outside of draws. (I know…a bit anal on our part…but everything has a place….) A few items of gear adrift were removed from the HAB and placed in pickup spot for mission control as directed by mission control.

We recieved answers to our request for maintenance and we will T/S the sink hot water as well as attempt a repair to the skirt on HAB. We removed and cleaned the moths / bugs from all upper deck light fixtures. It is so bright now…;*) We want to do all we can to improve the state of this living facility.

IMPRESSED: I am so impressed with our new call sign assignment of “Poison Ivy” for Andreea (Greenhab officer – Blue 03). She brought the garden back from a dry less productuve state (due to water issues last rotation) to a garden that continues to produce many small tomatoes despite our ability to consume them daily. BZ Poison Ivy….

LEARNED I learned that the internet is not reliable and I need to be much earlier to be proactive about weather.

POA&M We intend to perform two sets of EVAs tomorrow and if approved continue training crew and repairs to HAB. We may even be able to finish cleaning the water tank in the RAM and return to service for next crew. If approved we will also perform skirt repairs at end of EVA 2.

~Dituri sends

Warm Regards,

Joseph Dituri, PhD(c)
CDR, U.S. Navy Diving Officer (ret)
Director – IBUM

Commander Report – April 11th

Mission Commander report – Crew 192 Report SOL 3

This morning I made a modification to the scheduled EVA for health and comfort of the crew. I started an EVA ~30 minutes early intentionally to avoid the heat of the day which was (late information) projected to be hotter than expected. Please do not be upset with the crew. I assumed that I had the skill and ability to make minor modifications from leading multiple missions to myriad overseas destinations with significant consequence of failure. I did so fully understanding the EVAs and other non-critical mission parameters given my role and understanding all the reasons for the established rules such as crews possibly encountering those not in SIM. I know this now to be wrong and will adjust the EVA times to account for increased temperatures by scheduling earlier in the AM and later in the PM. I had no intention of making an already tenuous situation with the society worse by my actions… I apologize for my error and will ensure it does not happen again. Please accept my humble apologies. The crew is beginning to feel a “combative / oppressive dynamic” developing between external sources on our overall team and the society into which we may be being thrust. It is not our intention to be combative or disruptive …we intend only to maximize our learning and scientific potential while here. We have an will continue to build bridges while here and work towards peace.

Please understand that EVERY piece of correspondence that leaves this sight is reviewed and approved by me and altered with my …as well as every other crew member’s input as would be the case on Mars and in any other mission. There is no one man show on this team…please consider that when questioning why my name is not on a specific report.

On a lighter note we had Martian matinee today …using the time hot midday time to catch up on a movie because the evenings have been filled with planning.

LEARNED: The heat of the day is beginning to oppress our EVAs (cut morning EVA short due to temperature) so we will schedule EVAs earlier and later to coincide with cooler points of the day. Additionally, the weather is less predictable than initially thought.

IMPRESSED: I was impressed with the skill of Blue 04 (Victoria) who has been the go between and on all email correspondence and has been dealing with an internet speed just faster than glacial as well as minimal data capacity and still manages to upload myriad required reports. BZ Blue 04!

POA&M: Tomorrow the weather is supposed to turn to exceptionally high winds. High winds have started tonight. We have done a “batten the hatches down” EVA to look around the HAB in anticipation of the pending increased wind. Many items were removed from the HAB as requested by staff on site and should be removed before winds increase. We are planning a training and cleaning day tomorrow with EVAs very close to home.

~Dituri Sends (Blue 00)

Commander Report – April 10th

Mission Commander’s Report – SOL 2 – 10 April 2018

Author: Joe Dituri

With our morning EVA complete, we are formulating a plan for future EVAs and an effort to find our science suite and remnants of our science advisor. On our evening EVA, we were super excited to find a plaque card with our fallen science officer’s name on it. This renewed our optimism to find our science module in parts and salvage some of the science. The doctor continues to weigh the entire crew before and after EVA. So far most of the crew loses 1-3 lbs of body water per EVA depending upon duration. The doctor has continued to push fluids on the crew at all times for optimal health. He is also doing Skeletal muscle measurements for glycogen storage. We are performing isometric handgrip study prior to EVA to evaluate dexterity, numbness and comfort using EVA gloves. Yesterday we also started the well-being surveys. XO has started study to mitigate fogging of visors. Tomorrow the XO will submit an intermittent science report which will further detail science.

The crew played “Cards Against Humanity” last night. It served the purpose of lightening the mood after a hard day’s work. In the morning everyone woke refreshed and ready to start the day. The morning EVA served its purpose to indoctrination the three-person team for EVAs. The team explored the ridge to the east and found evidence of water as well as animal tracks.

The crew has worked up a plan to clean the water tank on the trailer. We took some of the EVA time to assess what was required to clean. We intend on rolling itinto the RAM tomorrow AM.

On the lighter side…some of the crew with longer hair compared dry shampoos and leave in conditioners and agreed to exchange product for a direct comparison taking into account a decreased ability to use water. Those participants who have insufficient hair to participate in the cross functional study will act as control group. Additionally hair constraint methods were discussed to reduce hair from being caught in the helmet

The crew took a great picture this morning with our red noses one and all to take a stand against childhood hunger. We were thinking about sending starving children some dehydrated food. Spirits are high and the crew is in a great mood.

LEARNED – We learned that the one-piece EVA suits have less mobility in the forward bending direction but they have different pressure points than the two-piece suit.

EVAs that involve a large amount of hiking should be limited to two or maybe two and a half hours unless there is supplemental water.

South of Kissing Camel Ridge, comms go out and you cannot get in touch with the hab.

IMPRESSED – I was impressed with the XO (Richard – Blue 01) as he led the EVA team and noticed the communication microphones were ill fitted. He devised a non – permanent alteration for the microphones which mimics a boom microphone and increased the effective communication. BRAVO ZULU to the XO.

POA&M – (Plan of Action and Milestones) – We are going to attempt to explore the Kissing Camel area where the science module plaque was found. We now have a training schedule for the crew to learn about decompression in space suits and psychological crew selection as well as radiation exposure and mitigation factors. Yuri’s night is the 12th of April and we made an attempt at planning some fun albeit limited.

~Dituri Sends (Blue 00)