EVA Report – January 23rd

EVA Report for 23Jan2018

Author: Oscar Ojeda

Purpose of EVA: Aerial mapping of terrain, testing of long-range EVA protocols, and long-range operation test of Cóndor Space Suit Simulator, Collection of possible halophile samples.

Participants: Oscar, Cynthia, Tania, and Danton

Coordinates: 518500 E, 4256500 N

Narrative: Two EVAs were undertaken today, the second one consisted on driving through Cow Dung Road to discharge the battery od each of the new rovers, to increase their battery life. The crew departed at 16:00 and was returning at the hab at 17:00. One of the crewmember’s radio was drained during the return, so he took the center position in the formation, for safety.

The first EVA took a crew of 4 to Lith canyon. The goals of the EVA were attained. The crew left the airlock at 10:35, securing the elements to the ATVs and taking the specified route, taking Cow Dung road north. The crew arrived at the entrance of the Special Region and struggled for about half an hour to find the entrance to the rest of the road, which is not easily visible. After finding the entrance the crew proceeded with the rest of the vehicle road, taking Lith Canyon Road to it’s end. At this point, the ATVs were left and the crew started walking up a hill to have a better visual of the area and plan the next exploration steps. Aerial footage was also taken from the Drone. Walking exploration of Lith canyon was undertaken, walking west from the position where the ATVs were parked. The crew walked towards the western wall of the canyon, departing after into the eastern limit, where aerial footage was gathered. The zone presented a significant amount of cactus and hervibore presence evidence. The crew started the return walk by 14:05, arriving to the ATVs by 14:45. The ATVs were boarded, and the road back resumed. On the way back, a sample of soil containing salt deposits was taken for further analysis for Halophiles. The crew arrived to the hab at 15:35, ending the EVA.

EVA Report – January 22nd

This is the report for today’s EVA

Purpose of EVA: Primary: Long-range EVA protocol testing, Sample collection for possible Halophile identification, identification of relevant sampling sites, heating vest testing.

Secondary: Outreach and Educational graphic material collection. Relevant sample collection.

Participants: Atila, Danton, Luis, and David.

Coordinates: 517100 E, 4256400 N

Narrative: Today was the first long range EVA undertaken by the crew, and it was an eventful one, fortunately with a very happy ending. It is important to say that the temperature was a challenging element for the crew. The EVA started at 12:00 with the egress of the crew of four of the airlock. By pairs they boarded the two rovers and departed north by Cow Dung road, however, by the rapid discharge of the opportunity rover, the crew returned to the hab to rest, eat something, and take two ATVs instead of Opportunity. The EVA was resumed at 13:30 with a new egress of the crew, this time boarding Deimos and the 1 and 2 350 ATVs. The crew departed north until the north of Copernicus Hw, where they left the vehicles and started walking at 14:50. The crew walked about 15 minutes to a valley(38° 27.448N 110° 48.031W) and stayed there for about 5 minutes, where they took the route back, taking relevant samples in the way, as well as aerial footage(38° 27.0021N 110°48.565W). There were a lot of hervibore prints as well. While on Brahe Hwy the battery meter of Deimos suddenly started dropping fast, taking about 5 minutes to go from 71% to 26% charge, as reported by the Engineering officer. The crew decided to switch positions to reduce the weight, and kept going, however the charge kept dropping. The crew decided to walk along the vehicle, and afterwards to push it. The crew followed this procedure for 50 minutes. Afterwards they took the jumping cables (for battery charging) and pulled the rover with one of the ATVs until they were in sight of the crew in the hab. Unfortunately, the cables broke, and it was impossible to pull the rover further. At that point the crew was already 45 minutes above the closing time of the EVA window, and director Shannon went out to help them. The crew broke simulation, towed and pushed the rover up to the habitat and made an ingress to the hab, out of sim.

They were greeted with hot cocoa and blankets by the rest of the crew, who were happy to see them again.

EVA Report – January 21st

Purpose of EVA: Primary: Mid-range testing of the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator, Mid-range EVA protocol testing, Sample collection for possible Halophile identification, further exploration of El Dorado Canyon.

Secondary: Outreach and Educational graphic material collection. Relevant sample collection.

Participants: Oscar, Luis, David, and Tania.

Narrative: Today marked the last of the mid-range EVAs programmed, leading to longer and even more interesting exploration. The weather was favorable, but windy. The crew donned the suits and exited the airlock at 12:30, the four crewmembers then boarded the Rovers Spirit and Opportunity and followed the path planned, towards El Dorado canyon. After approximately 25 minutes of traverse, and after passing Robert’s Rock Garden, the Rovers were parked on the side of the road, and the expedition started walking with Southeast course, towards the entrance of the canyon, upon finishing the rocky plains, two crewmembers had to return to the Rover, given that the aerial drone was left behind. Upon reuniting, the crew resumed the traverse until the entrance of the canyon. More herbivore and cougar prints were found in the area, but not as fresh as on the previous EVA to the canyon. The crew entered the canyon and followed the dry riverbed. Along this path, water samples were taken, aerial footage with the drone, as well as traditional photography. The crew followed the path until the eastern exit of the canyon, heading south to meet Cow Dung road again. However, the sampling sites that were found during the firs EVA to the area were not found, since they probably belong to a subsidiary structure, south of El Dorado canyon. It is suggested that further detailed mapping of this area is undertaken, to identify all the morphologies present. While returning through Cow Dung road, heading north, a crewmember’s cell phone (used as a compass and camera) was lost, so a search formation was done, and the crew headed south, being able to find the device, and resuming the walk back north. The walk lasted about 25 minutes, reuniting with the Rovers and heading back to the habitat. The EVA ended at 15:20 with the ingress of the crew from the airlock to the habitat.

The aerial footage is being processed, as well as the performance of the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator, which will be subjected to detailed inspection tomorrow.

The only incident related with the EVA was the lost and recovery of the cell phone.

EVA Report – January 18th

Crew 187 EVA Report 19JAN2018

Good evening Mission Support…!! Here is the EVA Report for 19JAN2018.

Purpose of EVA: Aerial mapping of MDRS campus

Participants: Danton, and Cynthia

Narrative: Today the crew had a short EVA. All the main goals were successfully attained. The EVA consisted of taking aerial and ground footage of the MDRS campus. The images were taken by the Spark drone used by the crew. The footage was taken at altitudes of 20, 25, 40 and 50 meters above ground level. Images will be provided with the daily reports. The EVA window requested was 2 hours, but the activity lasted 35 minutes. The two members of the expedition were using Exo Suits.

No incident or anomaly was sustained during the EVA.

Thank you so much…!!

Oscar Ojeda – EVA Officer

EVA Report – January 18th

Purpose of EVA: Aerial mapping of terrain, testing of mid-range EVA protocols, and mid-range operation test of Cóndor Space Suit Simulator.

Participants: Atila, Cynthia, Danton, and Oscar

Narrative: Today we had a successful and interesting EVA, attaining all the main goals, as well as a secondary goal. The crew left the airlock at 13:15. It was the first of an intended set of mid to long range of explorations in the area of MDRS. The crew donned the suits, consisting on 3 Exo suits and the Cóndor Space Suit Simulator. The target area was a canyon located south east from the habitat, which has not been much explored. Given the fact that this canyon has not been named, crew 187 decided to propose for it the name of El Dorado Canyon. A crew of 4 departed in two Rovers, Curiosity and Deimos, going south from the habitat through Cow Dung Road. After a traverse of approximately 15 minutes, passing Robert’s Rock Garden, the crew parked the vehicles and started walking east towards the entrance of the canyon. After traversing a rocky but flat terrain, the crew arrived at the southern edge of the zone, entering the dry riverbed by a small slope, which was found by following prints of a herbivore animal. Upon arrival, the crew started walking East, following the riverbed, quickly finding several elements of interest for future exploration, such as dry salt deposits, which could harbor extremophile microorganisms, frozen ponds, and sedimentary and clastic geological structures. These structures were present during all the traverse, being even more relevant towards the deepest segments. When the crew had made a walk of about 20 minutes from the ridge, a small pond was found, and the observation was made that it was probable to find wild animals around, which was confirmed by finding several prints of was probably a pack of herbivores, also a carnivore feline print was found, which we assume, belonged to a Mountain Lion. The print was presumably fresh, of at most hours, which made the crew to decide to stop the walking exploration, send the drone a few hundred meters ahead, and proceed to return, following the same path. A few samples of rocks with salt deposits were recovered and stored. Unfortunately, upon landing, the drone’s camera mount engine was locked, and the issue is being assessed by Danton. At the arrival to the ridge, the crew started walking West, to find the main road and the Rovers to head back to the habitat. During this walk a coral fossil was found and retrieved. The crew arrived to the Rovers and headed back to the MDRS campus. Upon arrival the Cóndor Space Suit proceeded to the airlock, due to the fact that the battery was drained, and it could represent a hazard to operations. The rest of the crew made a short excursion inside the RAM module to inspect the contents related to the HSO, as well as to store the cage for the Curiosity rover. The EVA ended at 15:55.

We also noticed that the coordinates given by the map do not match the ones provided by the GPS equipment available in the lab, we’d like to further explore this issue.

No incident or anomaly was sustained during the EVA.

Oscar Ojeda – EVA Officer

EVA Report – January 16th

Purpose of EVA: Collecting regolith samples for use on science projects (15kg, Atila and David)

Participants: Atila, David, Luis, and Oscar

Narrative: Today’s EVA was fortunately a short one, the most time you spend out in Mars, the most risk you have of suffering an incident, and safety comes first, despite of the always breathtaking views that you get. All the goals of the EVA were successfully attained. On a particular note, the excursion leader, Oscar, used the flexible segment of the Condor Space Suit Simulator, in combination with the Exo Suit. The requested EVA window was of two hours, with previous knowledge that it would last under an hour, planning for possible issues arising. At 9:15 the crewmembers started getting ready in the lower deck, donning the flight suits, as well as the accessories, such as radios and snoopy caps, the required elements for the activity were taken, mainly consisting of sealable bags, 3 shovels, and a bucket. Afterwards the crew proceeded to decompression protocols in the airlock, egressing the Habitat main door at 9:51. The crew proceeded to walk towards the base of Overlook Ridge, on its Northeast segment, where 10 full bags of regolith were collected, as well as a full bucket, all containing around 16kg of soil samples. The samples were then moved to the side of the hab, and after requesting permission, moved into the airlock. The crew sustained depressurization procedures, and then proceeded to doffing.

No incident or anomaly was sustained during the EVA.

Thank you,

Oscar Ojeda

EVA Report – January 15th

Purpose of EVA: Space Suit activity recognition and Assessment of in-suit performance


EVA 1: Atila, Danton, Oscar, Cynthia

EVA 2: Atila, Luis, David, Tania

Narrative: The crew conducted the first EVA set of activities today, and it was a huge success, whit all the objectives completed. The main goal of the EVA was to get all the crewmembers a first approach to external operations, and to test the main tools we would be using from now on, on each of the projects. The EVA was designed to also test the performance of the crewmembers with the gear on, to plan better the next EVAs, and assignments. Both crews performed the same routine, with small variations. The routine began by the donning of the suits, proceeding to enter the airlock, 5 minute depressurization, and going out in front of the hab. From there, the group took a straight route until the south of Marble Ritual, try the quadcopter operation, and the shovels for sampling. Upon return to the hab area, the crew left some of the equipment back and mounted the vehicles, 3 ATVs and the Curiosity Rover. It is important to clear that the requested Rover was Deimos, but the designated driver in EVA 1, Danton, would not fit inside of it, requiring the use of the one without safety cage. In order to keep the same protocols, EVA 2 used the same Rover. The next route was traversed by vehicle and took the crew to Pooh’s Corner, where a second brief walk was undertaken, towards a small mound on the East of Cow Dung Road. Afterwards the crew returned to the vicinity of the hab to perform the last test, which consisted of making summit of Overlook Ridge. The crew then returned to the airlock, sustained repressurization, and upon entry to the hab, proceeded to doffing protocols.

Each crewmember was interviewed upon finalization of the doffing on qualitative, and quantitative factors, as well as general comments on the performance of themselves on the suit. Further comment on this will be posted on the final report.

Oscar Ojeda

EVA Officer – Crew 187

EVA Report – January 12th

Purpose of EVA: Collect and analyze samples of shale obtained from the region below Skyline Rim. Collect samples of fossilized shells that were discovered on a previous EVA near White Moon.

Destination: Skyline Rim

UDM27 Coordinates: 515300E, 4251200N

Destination: White Moon

UDM27 Coordinates: 517100E, 4254600N

Participants: Justin Mansell (Journalist), Melanie Grande (Engineer), Sam Albert (Health and Safety Officer)

Narrative: This was the final EVA of the mission and the members of the team were tasked with obtaining samples of shale from the base of Skyline Rim and analyzing them in the field with a spectrometer. Our secondary objective was to collect a handful of fossilized shells from a deposit near White Moon. This deposit was discovered on a previous EVA but no samples were taken. We departed the airlock at 11:07 am and drove north to White Moon. I led in the Deimos rover followed behind by Sam and Melanie in Spirit. We made a brief stop near Gray Moon to search for the fossil bed but were unsuccessful in locating it. We remounted the rovers after several minutes and continued to Skyline Rim by way of Copernicus Highway 1574 and Sagan Street 1103. We arrived on site at approximately 12:30 pm.

Sam was able to make contact with the habitat from atop a small hill using a ham radio while Melanie and I searched for shale near the end of Sagan Street. Once we had positively identified several samples of shale the team collected equipment from the rovers and proceeded to the base of the cliff. We also made a brief test of the navigation radio to verify the direction to the habitat.

Sam made his way up an escarpment to collect chips of shale directly from the cliff wall using a rock hammer. Melanie also climbed an escarpment to take complimentary spectra using the spectrometer. I remained at the base of the escarpments to monitor Sam and Melanie’s safety. The team then returned to the rovers and departed Skyline Rim at 1:15 pm.

We made a second stop at White Moon on the return journey and relocated the shell fossils found on a previous EVA. We filled a sample bag with a handful of shells and returned directly to the habitat. We arrived at the habitat at 2:23 pm. The total time on EVA was 3 hours and 21 minutes.

Justin Mansell, MDRS Crew 186 Journalist

EVA Report – January 11th

Author: Max Fagin

Purpose of EVA: The last testing of the Yagi-Uda antenna based navigation experiment for navigating back to the hab. Destination change the night before to Skyline ridge allowed photographic reconnaissance in preparation for tomorrow’s geology EVA to the same site.

Destination: Plains to the east of skyline ridge

UDM27 Coordinates: 516000 E, 4251000 N

Participants: Max Fagin (Commander), Kshitij Mall (Executive Officer)

Narrative: This EVA was the final demonstration of the radio beacon navigation system, with the goal of demonstrating its effectiveness when line of sight was obstructed for the duration of the walk. Kshitij served as the lost astronaut, and had the hood in place over his helmet that limited his field of view to 5m from his feet. Max monitored the route and tracked the progress via gps to ensure the route was safe. We left the airlock at 10:36 and walked north along a foot path to the top of the ridge that rises over the hab to our west. After cresting the ridge, we walked due west along Sagan Rd before swinging south 50m to await the first beacon transmission. When the beacon was received, we started back, Kshitij leading the way, and Max monitoring. When Kshitij would stop to check the bearing on the hab, Max tested an experimental chlorophyll detector that Chris McKay and Matteo Borri had designed for us for use on the local flora. A loss of the beacon for ~15 minutes led to a complete turnaround, but it was corrected when the beacon was picked up again. We crested the ridge 45 minutes later at the ridge’s closest point to the hab, exactly where we should have been. So close that Kshitij gave an audible gasp when Max removed the hood and saw the habitat was so close. We deactivated the beacon, and walked north to find the route back down to the hab. Airlock ingress was at 12:37 for a total EVA time of 2:01.

Note: One of the hab’s radios has been damaged beyond repair. I was carrying it in my front pocket as a backup radio, and when I lifted my leg while climbing the ridge, the antenna was pinched against my front and snapped off. Shannon: There are still more than enough radios at the hab to provide spares, so I don’t know if you will want to replace it or not, but either way, I will note this on the checkout sheet as damage incurred. My apologies for the damage.

EVA Report – January 10th

Author: Cesare Guariniello

Purpose of EVA: Testing the next phase of the Yagi-Uda antenna-based navigation experiment for navigating back to the hab. Testing with a stranded astronaut in a condition of low visibility

Destination: End of Mountain Goat Road

UDM27 Coordinates:

519750 E

4250500 N

Participants: Cesare, Melanie, Mark (stranded astronaut)

Narrative: This EVA put an astronaut in condition of low visibility, simulating a dust storm. This condition was obtained with a cardboard placed over the top portion of the ExoSuit helmet. The astronaut has visibility limited to about 5m ahead (for reasons of safety) and can look at the handheld radio when navigating, in order to find the direction of the habitat. The crew egressed the habitat with Mark already “under the hood”, and checked the safety of the hooding apparatus, then the three EVA crewmembers started walking Northwest to the intended destination, guided by Cesare’s GPS unit. During the outward path, Melanie and Cesare had Mark stopping multiple times, to spin around and be redirected so as to be completely disoriented. The outward path was also chosen so that the return direction would not follow it.

Once the turnaround point was reached, Mark turned on the Yagi-Uda antenna receiver and began scanning for the radio beacon from the habitat, sent initially at intervals of 5 minutes. Melanie and Cesare took care of the safety of the path chosen by Mark, but let him decide the direction to walk towards. When rock walls occurred, Mark decided the best path around them, and only once he was requested to stop to avoid excessive proximity to a shallow canyon. The EVA gave significant results to the experiment. Mark was able to locate the habitat with adequate precision even when hills and rocks obstructed the line of communication, though a power attenuator might be required in close proximity to the habitat (Mark could navigate close to saturation of the signal, at about 500m from the habitat). A major problem was the difficulty to follow a straight path. Mark always pinpointed the direction towards the habitat, but walked in wide arcs. For this reason, Cesare and Melanie requested continuous transmission of the beacon signal which helped reducing the path error.

Around 1:40 (one hour and 35 minutes into the EVA), the weather turned to rain. The crew immediately reported the occurrence to the HabCom. Upon indication by the commander the EVA was scrubbed immediately, Mark was unhooded, and the EVA team returned to the hab (which had been in sight for about 20 minutes, and was only 500m away) without delays and ingresses the airlock after collecting two soil samples from the immediate vicinity of the habitat, to be analyzed for use in the Greenhab by future crews.

Cesare Guariniello, crew geologist

Crew 186 – Boilers2Mars

Mars Desert Research Station