Sol Summary – December 31st

Crew 171

SOL: 13
Person filling out Report: Anselm Wiercioch, XO
Summary Title: Endgame
Mission Status: Complete
Sol Activity Summary: Met and trained new crew, Prepared for departure
Look Ahead Plan: Return to Earth
Anomalies in work: None
Weather: High 45F, Low 21F, Humidity 28-60%, Wind avg 2mph, Gust
5.4mph, Clear and sunny
Crew Physical Status: Alive and well
EVA: None
Reports to be filed:
– Sol Summary
– Science Reports
– 6-8 Photos
– Operations Report
Support Requested
– None

Commander Report – December 29th

Today we officially concluded our mission activities. While research efforts in the GreenHab had impediments, the process provided insight on potential future improvements to growing facilities at MDRS as well as complications that may occur on Mars. Data collection pertaining to the Astronaut Obstacle Avoidance project was successful, and results may provide implications about spacesuit design and the potential for built-in interfaces in future spacesuits. Tomorrow we plan to spend the sol cleaning the facilities and will spend all of Sol 13 training the next crew before departure on the morning of Sol 14.

The past couple of weeks have been quite an adventure for all of us. We’ve become close and are grateful for having been a part of such a compatible group dynamic. Each of us brought a unique perspective, personality, and set of skills to the crew. We all did our share in keeping the Hab organized and functional, supporting mission objectives, and keeping each other well fed and entertained. Our experience here has provoked thought on the complications involved in a manned mission to Mars, both technical and psychological. We are thankful for being given this opportunity, and will never forget our unique experience at MDRS.

A Sol Summary, Engineering Report, Science Report, and photos will follow.    

Ad Astra!

Alison Gibson

Commander, MDRS Crew 171 (SEDS)

Crew Photos – December 26th

Crew Biologist Sean turned 26 on Mars today and was treated to colorful decorations and a feast of desserts.


Terribly chasm-like.
Connor points majestically at the horizon.
Chief Scientist Connor prepares to place a time-lapse camera during an EVA
Beautiful scenery along this convenient Martian road. Mars would make an excellent rally stage.
The EVA heads for a nearby chasm.
The EVA crew pauses for a photo at the edge of the chasm.
Exploring the chasm on foot.
Beautiful scenery along this convenient Martian road. Mars would make an excellent rally stage.

Science Report – December 26th

Geology/Mars Climate Report: The camera that was on during the night to track stars ended up making a decent video and some stars were visible. I reprogrammed the camera and left it outside to take another exposure tonight. However, the camera will be pointed use above the horizon instead of straight up in the sky.

Another camera was repositioned to look due West toward the Lower Blue Hills and the sides of the cliffs.


Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 20 F – 39 F

Outdoor Humidity – 22% – 53%

GreenHab Temp – 27 F – 93 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 32%

Barometer – 29.43 – 29.89 inHg

Wind – 5-10 mph, gust – 20 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 387.5 W/m^2

UV Index – 756 uW/cm^2

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

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Mars Self Sleep Study Report:

The new dynamic sleep schedule we set out to adhere to has broken down somewhat. I am now back to sleeping in one big chunk at night. Anselm has been taking a nap during  some of the days though.

Other sleep schedule ideas for Mars:

  1. Uberman Cycle = ~4 x 45 min naps at equal intervals throughout the day. Hardest for the body to adjust to initially. To slowly adopt this schedule you can gradually reduce your nightly chunk of sleep and replace part of that lost time with small naps. May only work for people that need 4 hours of regular sleep per night.
  1. Biphasic  Cycle = One chunk of sleep at night for ~4-5 hours followed by a nap during the day. This cycle has some research supporting its cognitive benefits.
  1. Daylight Cycle = This is a little different than the regular biphasic cycle but still involves two blocks. You are sleeping all at night when it is dark but your 8 hours total is broken up with a two hour awake/working period in the middle of the night.

Whatever gets the work done on Mars!!


Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report:

The initial steps of mankind on Mars will be for scientific and exploratory purposes but eventually businesses and politicians will be mounting their campaign on the Red Planet as colonization continues. For example, how will land be divided on Mars and what will the long-term governmental structure look like?

At first there will be only a handful of people on the surface and as a crew they will be subject to mission objectives and goals from NASA and Earth-based institutions. However, as more and more people migrate to a city on Mars there will be autonomous political institutions which can act by themselves. In the long term future of Mars colonization, will cities and civilization emerge just as it has done on Earth? These are the aspects of Mars colonization that need to start being addressed now as they will become more and more critical over time.

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Commander Report – December 24th

Alison Gibson

Commander Report

24 Dec 2016 – Sol 6

Mission Support,

We’re officially halfway through our mission. While it started out feeling slow, the days are going by much quicker now that we’re accustomed to our Martian schedule. We have been looking forward to Christmas all week as a chance to take a break and relax. We each brought a wrapped mystery gift in order to have a Yankee Swap (a.k.a. White Elephant Gift Exchange) on Christmas Day. I think we’re all hoping to end up with a gift that can provide some sort of entertainment in the coming week. We have a few makeshift decorations around the Hab to help get us into the spirit. Happy Holidays!

With the help of Mission Support, we have resolved our internet connectivity issues. We’re all able to use the internet for approximately 3 hours a day before hitting our data limit, which seems to be sufficient for maintaining brief email communications with Earthlings and CapComm each evening. The facilities are all fully functional and crew spirits are high. We have a lot of work to do in the coming week to finish our mission goals, so will have a full schedules between the holiday and the end of the mission. We look forward to welcoming the next crew in a week.

A Sol Summary, Engineering Report, Science Report, and photos will follow.

Ad Astra per Aspera!

Alison Gibson

Commander, MDRS Crew 171 (SEDS)

Commander Report – December 21st

Alison Gibson
Commander Report
21 Dec 2016 – Sol 3

Mission Support,

We’ve been on Mars for 3 sols now, and are forming a strong crew
dynamic. Everyone is doing their best to ensure a productive and
successful mission. Three of us went on an EVA today (Connor, Anselm,
and myself) out to the Dinosaur Quarry to explore the area and get
comfortable on the rovers while suited up. It’s been a cold and cloudy
day, so the ride out and back was frigid. On our way out to the
quarry, we set our pack rat (Bernie) free in the middle of the Martian
desert. After returning, we all ate lunch together and discussed our
plans for baking holiday treats this weekend.

We are generally staying warm and hydrated; although, while the
facility issues have been addressed, we are disappointed with the
internet access. Many of us were relying on internet access to
complete tasks during our mission, and I personally need wi-fi to
complete my research project. We cannot receive email or even navigate
to a page on a browser about 90% of the time. This has made evening
communications with CapComm, Mission Support, and Shannon Rupert very
difficult. We also cannot track our package of mission patches or
flight suits without the internet. Due to access settings put in place
by the previous Crew Commander, we cannot utilize the other two
routers at all. We’ve been monitoring our bandwidth, have turned off
all Bluetooth devices, taken turns using our computers, and reset the
router numerous times. Nothing has helped. This issue is causing
seriously impediments to our mission goals, and we hope there is a way
to resolve it with the help of Mission Support.

A Sol Summary, Engineering Report, HSO Report, Science Report, and
photos will follow. There is also an EVA Request for Sol 4.

Thank you for the weather report and your support.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gibson
Commander, MDRS Crew 171