Journalist Report – February 18th

Journalist report, 02/17/18 and 02/18/18: last moments on Earth

Louis had been the last to join us at Grand Junction, picked up by Gabriel, glad of his time of arrival. The mission was finally on its way! After a final brunch at the hotel, Victoria made a stock of bananas (which would be over even before we could see the Hab), it was time to leave civilization! The target: Hanksville, in the deepest paths of the Utah desert.

A journey not so comfortable at last, especially for Laurent, who carried the large MegaARES instrument that Gabriel left him. Nonetheless the road met its end, and we were getting deeper in the desert, towards the Hab. A few turns between giant red rocks later, we finally were able to see the station, among its little brothers, the laboratory, the GreenHab and the observatory. To welcome us, no previous crew was present contrary to the usual, but new stairs were being done, which will reduce falling risks and avoid injuries. It was then time for Shannon’s first briefing, completed with some advices from Attila the Peruvian, yet hard to understand because of Jack the dog, which seems to be into his teenager crisis.

Following a small cleaning session imposed by Victoria, it was now time for all of us to choose our rooms. Well, except for Gabriel, who inherited of the small bed under the celling, in order to take care of the hydraulic pump. A small rover/ATV trip later and we were taking our first meal in the station! A meal which finally revealed to be quite tasty: lyophilised ingredients are not so terrible. However, the crew started to feel really tired and everyone went to sleep to prepare the last pre-mission day!

A sleeping night which was short for Benoît and Louis, who had to bring back the location car to Grand Junction: it is an early morning for them! A few hours later, the remaining members of the crew tasted their first Martian breakfast with powdered orange juice and pancakes … powdered pancakes. The morning is used to put in place experiments which will be completed during the whole 3 weeks, and to finish some secondary tasks, like patch sewing, realized by Victoria, myself and Benoît for diverse results …

As both drivers came back from their journey and everyone filled their stomach, it was the time to take crew pictures! Despite some difficulties (one dog which repeatedly entered the field of view, and a tragic fall of the camera on the ground), photos were nonetheless satisfying. A last rover/ATV trip was organized, which proved to be quite hard due to continuous strong blowing winds and small dust storms that came with it, leading some members of the crew (especially Gabriel) to steal the look of a grandmother with his bandana.

The fatidic hour was near: while Shannon gave us her last advices, we prepared ourselves to the closing of the Hab door. Here begins 3 weeks without seeing the Sun without the helmet. As Shannon wished us good luck and left us, Gabriel finally grabbed the door handle to close the main door. After a few videos and pictures were taken by Jeremy, it was at last time to start the simulation.

6.05pm: the Hab door is closed, here begins the mission

Alexandre Martin, Crew Journalist MDRS 189.

Journalist Report – February 9th

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 09FEB2018

“Every Sol, our soul expands”.

Sol 12: Authors’ Name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Artist-in-Residence

We Crew 188 have all participated in EVA research experiments and scouting exercises, initiated in workshop and research activities, partaken in movement and reflective pursuits, cultural and culinary exchange, and interviews and candid conversations. Unintended outcomes informed an adaptation of Maslow’s human needs for future life on Mars, numerous operational recommendations and feedback documents, a range of education and public outreach activities, and the anticipated science, arts, humanities and engineering data collection for localized and on-going research. We have also been actively engaged in social media for the purpose of learning, discovering, sharing and promoting interdisciplinary exploration and Earth analogues to contribute a critical cultural and aesthetic suite of responses to the MDRS experience, but have we learned what it takes?

As the night falls, and we watch the ISS above us in the night sky, we connect our journey to the six astronauts currently in space, to the lives of those who have so generously and courageously expanded our capacity for imagination and daring through selfless research and discovery. While we are in no position to compare, we remain humbled, and inspired, in our pursuit of our dreams to be among those who contribute to space exploration. We took time out from our professional lives to come to MDRS to live day-to-day life as early Mars settlers. We navigated the terrain of the desert analogue environment and the simulation conditions. We worked as a crew. We discovered each other and reflected on aspects of our selves and our suitability for the tasks through our engagement with the daily operational and environmental challenges. More importantly, we cared for each other. We cared for the habitat and the landscape. We cared for those who came here before us, and those who are on their way: the future analogue crews and support teams. We remembered that in coming together for peaceful and united purpose, that we can accomplish small things in great ways, and great things in seemingly insignificant ways. We supplemented each other’s weaknesses and complemented each other’s strengths, and gained new perspectives through our transfer and exchange of values and experiences. We discovered what systems and approaches worked effortlessly on Mars and what took immense energy, insight, courage, patience and tact to overcome, or live with. We imagined, created, dreamed and put into action that which inspired our heartfelt curiosities and professional interests. As our cheesy Crew 188 fridge affirmation said, “Every Sol, our soul expands”.

I want to wish the in-coming Crew 189 every success and take this opportunity to personally thank the amazing people who make up Crew 188: Dr. Ryan Kobrick (KOB1), Renee Garifi (Llama Llama Ding Dong), Zac Trolley (Boltz/Bootz), Julia De Marines (Jules Verne), and Tatsunari Tomiyama (Tom Cat). I think the world of you all, and could not have imagined a better crew to explore the red plains with. Thanks also to the Mars Society Operations and Mission Support for their on-going support of our mission. A part of MDRS will be with us always.

Signing off,

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell (Bubbles/SJ), Journalist in Residence, Crew 188.

– – – – –

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

TED Fellow 2010, Australia Council Fellow 2016, Gifted Citizen 2016

The ‘Performing Astronautics: following the Body’s Natural Edge into the Abyss of Space’ project is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body http://www.artistastronaut.com

Artist, Occupational Diver, Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Simulation Astronaut http://www.sarahjanepell.com

Journalist Report – February 7th

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 07FEB2018

MarsHigh Pyramid: Reinterpreting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Mars

SOL-10 Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

A highlight of SOL 9, Crew 188 watched the delayed transmission of Elon Musk and his teams at SpaceX successfully test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket into space carrying his Tesla and Mars-tronaut. With the ability to lift ~64 metric tons (141,000 lb) into orbit, and the roar of the crowds with each phased progression, we shared in the ecstatic release knowing that humanity is on its way to Mars.

An hour before, EVA-10: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Julia De Marines and Zac Trolley launched the Crew 188 Falcon Light test vehicles propelled by Alkaselza (for the active ingredient: baking soda) and water from the MDRS station, into the analogue CO2 of the Martian landscape. [See Crew 188 Sol 9.
EVA-10 Report].

Upon our return to the Main Habitat, we discussed how humanity might proceed beyond this auspicious point. In examining the basic human needs here at the Mars Desert Research Station, we continue efforts to report our experience to add to the body of knowledge informing future strategies and mission architectures to Mars [see Sol
5. Journalist
Report].

After supper, we watched the film Apollo 13. There was a classic scene where the flight Director says, “I don’t care what the system was designed to do, I care about what it can do… Work the problem people.” Today we asked, how well does the behaviour of the MDRS Simulation participants reflect or support our needs here on Mars? Logic suggests that if we can identify or communicate needs, this motivates us to address our deficiencies, and work on our growth and discovery needs. We reflect on Maslow’s pyramid of needs in an effort to work the problem.

We referred to “A Theory of Human Motivation” the psychology theory proposed by Abraham Maslow and published in Psychological Review 1943. It outlines a hierarchy of human needs (for present life on Earth) as our baseline. Maslow’s five-stage model (1943, 1954) was expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs (Maslow, 1970a) and later transcendence needs (Maslow, 1970b). Maslow noted that the order of needs might be flexible based on external circumstances or individual differences. For example, the need for creative fulfillment may supersede even the most basic needs, because it surpasses those needs. Maslow (1987) also pointed out that most behavior is multi-motivated and noted that “any behavior tends to be determined by several or all of the basic needs simultaneously rather than by only one of them” (p. 71).

We see this report an opportunity to adapt Maslow’s pyramid for future human needs on Mars. Instead of focusing on psychopathology and what goes wrong with people, Maslow (1943) formulated a more positive account of human behavior, which focused on what goes right. He was interested in human potential, and how we fulfill that potential. We therefore begin with the highest, and ultimate growth needs, and work downwards to the base needs, reflecting on our status at MDRS and response to this.

8. Transcendence Transcendence needs – A person is motivated by values, which transcend beyond the personal self (e.g., mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.).

All of Crew 188 agreed that the MDRS scenery all around has inspired daily moments of transcendence. The hike up to Phobos Peak was a highlight for Julia De Marines [Astronomer]: she explains that it was a culmination of the environmental beauty and the feeling of overcoming so many challenges, that led to a peak state of being [See. EVA-05 Report].

Zac Trolley [Engineer] has not noted any moments of transcendence: but he adds the caveat that there is still a possibility of realising a critical position at MDRS in relation to his broader mission towards life on Mars.

7. Self Actualization Self-actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

As Trolley posted to social media: “The task ahead of us now is to build the infrastructure here on Earth as a dry run for future settlement of the Red Planet…” This is no mean feat. We are here because we hope to contribute to the discussions of the Mars Society and related analogue communities around the globe undertaking this challenge. Trolley explains, in seeking opportunities for self-actualisation there is always a trade-off between what we know and what we don’t know. We often gravitate to the more familiar and comfortable. Engineering systems however require a lot of money and time to install and maintain. They usually require an entire organization to be aligned in the same direction to be effective. So like as a new coming to the MDRS program, it has been a challenge to learn the existing systems, and navigate the organization, to exert the most force to create the most change. He hasn’t figured out how these needs for self-actualization might be met under simulation conditions. The simulation is a stepping-stone into understanding pathways for self-actualization. It is the journey not the destination…

6. Creative Aesthetic needs – appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.

De Marines [Astronomer] searches for beauty by discovering and exploring rocks on the MDRS plains. The range of exquisite specimens – from the moment we stepped out on our first EVA – has captivated our imaginations and curiosities for what we see, what we can learn, and what we can imagine: from the elemental origins, to the creative sculpting or application of the rocks as an aesthetic or utilitarian artefact.

Zac Trolley [Engineer] finds beauty and appreciation in design: in the same way the sculptor would describe working with a lump of clay, and taking away the excess to reveal what is within, he would take disparate systems and combine them to reveal the whole that they can become together. That requires an immense amount of planning and background information that Trolley is yet to acquire and therefore his ability to creatively design and refine the advanced life support systems to tested on Earth and used on Mars, is pending on MDRS. This challenge is strengthening his belief that organisation and strong leadership is required to connect the disparate systems between universities, analogue systems, hobbyists and enthusiasts around planet Earth.

5. Mental Cognitive needs – knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability.

Ryan Kobrick [Commander] is finding that the MDRS experience is serving his cognitive needs: by using new tools and gaining precision and experience with. Even scouting locations that he has been to ten years ago, he still feels that he is discovering something new, and he is reassured that much of it is still familiar.

For example, going into Lilith Canyon, he wasn’t sure if he knew where he was going, until he made the discovery of a particularly difficult pass, and was reassured that it was particularly memorably, and easily overcome.

4. Esteem Esteem needs – which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).

The Crew has expressed difficulty and frustration at not regularly feeling a sense of dignity, achievement, mastery, and independence under the simulation conditions. Behind the scenes communications between the crew and mission control are regularly mediated, circumvented or edited, and our agency and autonomy has been far from our expectations. Connecting with the outside world during the communications window however serves this need. The crew is receiving messages and interactions from children, from well-respected space professionals, members of the Mars Society, Astronauts and other Analogue Astronauts engaged in Mars missions around the world this month. Direct engagement with our Alma Mata: the International Space University, and professional communities, also reinforce and address our needs for esteem: self-esteem and professional esteem.

3. Love/Belonging Love and belongingness needs – friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).

Tatsunari Tomiyama has been conducting Human Factors research [See. Sol 3 Journalist Report] helping us to appreciate and support our group dynamics and social interactions. By communicating our responses and feelings in relation to the demands of the simulation, and the requirements of analogue living, we are building a greater respect and understanding of each other. For the first week, we worked together well as a crew. This week, we bonded more closely. We set aside time to eat, train, relax, meditate and appreciate each other with group sharing exercises, hard-core work-outs, yoga, movies, morning briefings, de-briefings, and workshop salons to share experiences and skills. This week, we found ourselves working together as a family. This special group of individuals each shares a passion for space exploration, a desire to succeed, and demonstrate genuine care for other crewmembers. You could say, Crew 188 are feeling the love: talking about on-going collaborations, visiting each other’s countries and work places, and crew submissions to future space conferences, analogues and sponsors.

2. Security Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, etc.

The Main Habitat protects us from the cold desert night air, the hot midday sun, and the harsh winds and sand abrasion. In fact, we are conducting research with PIs at NASA Glenn Research Centre on the dust intrusion loads (particle size distribution and quantity) as we enter the airlocks after EVAs at MDRS. We have documented the status of MDRS safety equipment, risks, hazards, and anything and any time the stability of our Mars analogue experience has been impacted. For example, the fidelity of our simulation has been compromised every day: we have logged all unscheduled visits – including those in the middle of the night – and interruptions such as on-lookers driving by, stopping and taking photos, while we are on EVA or at the habitat. We have inspected and evaluated the effectiveness of the emergency evacuation equipment, and familiarized ourselves with the limitations and challenges, should we ever need to face an emergency situation during our time at MDRS. Despite our external concerns, the integrity of our internal crew leadership and the environment of respect that Ryan Kobrick fosters, has enabled us to remain as a strong committed and unified crew.

1. Biological and physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

For 5 days, Crew 188 lived with a propane leak in the main hab [See Journalist Report Sol 5.
Abbreviated
version.] and another small leak was detected on Sol 10. Crew 188 also didn’t receive a full ration of food or water, and stocks are low. The food supplied supports an unbalanced diet comprising items: – low in nutritional value – high in starch – high in salt – and high in sugar. The Greenhab produce serves research not supplementary food supply. The food missing from the basic provisions, promised resupply, and sponsor foods will not be delivered. The vegetable rations included [tinned dried
corn, peas, broccoli] to support 6 people for 7 days. We supplemented those provisions with fresh vegetables [carrot, celery, kale], to extend to 9 days and served as a side dish (not main meal ingredient). We have 4 days in simulation remaining, no resupply, and the crew is rundown.

Future crews should not expect that MDRS supply the provisions as listed in the Operations Manual. The list has not been updated, the items are not guaranteed, and the MDRS rations will not be sufficient to support your needs. Crew 187 attempted to eat only what was provided. They lost a significant amount of weight and physical and mental condition. With two MDRS alumni crew members, we anticipated the deficit and coordinate a group excursion to shop for supplies before our arrival, but we underestimated the scarcity of nutritional food sources, and now suffer the consequences. We have requested 2 more tins of vegetables to support 6 people for 4 days. Our initial request was denied. We will submit another request, and harvest as much from the GreenHab as we can to sustain crew health.

We were also permitted to collect and transport 450 Gallons of water from Huntsville for use at the MDRS for 14 days. At Sol 9, we had used 370 Gallons of water. The average use is 37 Gallons per day including all drinking water, the water used for the Greenhab, for dishwashing and personal hygiene. We note that on the first night, there were 13 people staying at MDRS (including 3 of us sleeping on the GreenHab floor), and Crew 187 all had showers on the final morning of their departure. Response: water is liquid gold. We have been incredibly frugal, and smelly, for the sake of ensuring that we have enough water to drink and cook. Another 90 Gallons was delivered today. We anticipate that we will manage at this rate until the end of the Simulation with one day to spare provided there are no anomalies. The maintenance of power, airflow and thermal control is difficult to manage by design and condition [See. Sol 1-9 Operations
Reports]. We haven’t discussed sex yet as a Crew, although we have noted the provision of a Pregnancy Kit in the First Aid Kit. The crew sleep and wellbeing are affected by the entire list above.

We are heartened that Maslow outlined the characteristic of self-actualizers and the typical behaviours that lead to these traits. As we sign off, we review this list, and pose it as our recommendation or aspiration, for giving and receiving the best of ourselves for future Mars missions.

Characteristics of self-actualizers:

1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;

2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;

3. Spontaneous in thought and action;

4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);

5. Unusual sense of humor;

6. Able to look at life objectively;

7. Highly creative;

8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;

9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;

10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;

11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;

12. Peak experiences;

13. Need for privacy;

14. Democratic attitudes;

15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

Behavior leading to self-actualization:

(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;

(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;

(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;

(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;

(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;

(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;

(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.

Journalist Report – February 5th

Crew 188 Journalist Report 05FEB2018

Inspiring people using different language

SOL-8 Author’s Name: Tatsunari Tomiyama AHFP

[English]

The primary objective in this report is to educate and advertise our mission, crew 188, using different language(s). Our crews are mostly English speakers. I am the only crew member who can use an official space language other than English. By writing down English and Japanese, we are trying to educate other people who do not know English in Japan. As a secondary objective, the report is trying to inspire the Japan Mars Society. This report is the first time. Therefore, I would like to introduce our research projects while in the simulation. This report is written in English first for mission operation to help what I am writing and Japanese is followed.

Crew 188 is consisting by the International Space University (ISU) alumni. This is why Crew 188 is called Team ISU. I am also the alumni of Space Studies Program 2015 (SSP15). Other crew members also graduated with their masters and/or participated a program hosted by ISU previously. All of our member hold doctoral degree or a certain professional type of certification. Although I do not hold doctoral degree, I myself have Associate Human Factors Professional
certification by Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics even though I am still studying for master’s degree.

Our crew member brought multiple research projects for the future space pioneering activity. The research is focusing on the Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) and creating infrastructure at the station. Some of research is assigned by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and significant aerospace research universities such as Embry-Riddle University. We brought over $30,000 for research equipments. In addition to research experiments, our team is trying to perform some public events. Before this report, super blue blood moon has been completed by Dr. Sarah Jane Pell.

We have spent about 1 week of missions while I am writing this report at the station. So far, we are doing well. Crew member statuses are good and there is no major issue on their health. All crew members spent time to complete their work or research and we are trying to be productive. In other words, we are very busy under this extreme environment at the Utah. My research has been accepted during this mission and collecting data on time. I do not know whether it is due to my research settings or not, our team situational awareness is relatively higher than other crew members in my opinion because everyone knows what we suppose to do, but we are recognizing other statuses at the same time.

[Japanese]

このレポートは、我々Crew188任務の宣伝ならびに、火星探査や宇宙関係に興味がある人に向けた事柄を英語以外で伝えることを主目的とする。Crew188は全員英語を何不自由なく使用することができるが、クルーの中で私だけが英語以外の言語を使うことが可能である。このレポートを通して、英語がわからない人でも我々Crew188の任務が理解できてもらえればと思っている。副次目的としては、日本語のレポートを通して日本火星協会をより応援することを期待している。今回は初めてのレポートであるため、クルーの構成と大まかな研究および実験の説明をする。サポートチームとの関係で、日本語でのレポートは最初に英語、そして日本語といった構成になる。

Crew188は国際宇宙大学(ISU)の卒業生で構成される。Crew188がチームISUと呼ばれる所以はこれから来る。私自身も実際にISUのスペーススタディプログラム2015の卒業生である。他のクルーメンバーもISUの大学院ないし、ISUが主催したプログラムに参加した経験を持つ。さらに、メンバー全員が博士号ないし、何かしらの専門家認定証を所持する。私自身はこれを書いている時点では大学院の生徒であるが、ヒューマンファクターズ(人的要因)を専門認定委員会から認定されている。

我々クルーメンバーは複数の研究、実験を持ち込んでおり、すべて将来の宇宙技術やそれに関する活動の創造するためのものである。そのため、Crew188の研究内容は主に船外活動(EVA)や火星探査を支える生活環境整備に関わる内容がほとんどを占める。いくらかの研究自体、米国航空宇宙局(NASA)やエンブルリドル航空大学(Embry-Riddle
Aeronautical University)のような航空宇宙を研究する重要な研究機関からの実験、研究依頼であり、実験及び研究するための備品費用でおおよそ$30,000ほど掛かっている。実験や研究活動以外にも教育及び宣伝活動を行っている。実際、先日の月食(スーパーブルーブラッドムーン)ではSarah Jane Pell教授が基地で月食を撮影し、その様子がインターネットに公表された。

このレポートを書いている時点でシミュレーションが始まって約1週間がたったところである。現時点での経過は総じて良好であると言える。各メンバー自体の体調や健康状態も良好である。メンバー全員がそれぞれの役割とデータ収集を行い、科学者として、ないし、一、プロフェッショナルとしての仕事をこなしている。言葉を言い換えれば、クルー全員がユタ州の人が生活していない場所で生活していながら非常に多忙であるといえる。しかしながら、個人の見解として、組織としての状況判断能力は他のメンバーと比べて高い判断している。というのも、たった数日ないし、1週間足らずの間でしか顔合わせをしていないのにも関わらず、メンバー全員がこなさなければならない事柄を行い、同時に他のメンバーの仕事や研究を認識しているからである。

Journalist Report – February 4th

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 04FEB2018

Crew 188 Science’s the Shit Out of MDRS

SOL-7 Author’s name: Julia DeMarines

The theme for this report is Science. It is the third report in a short series responding to the MDRS “Safety, Simulation, and Science” priority of operations.

BACKGROUND:

In the wise words of Mark Watney in The Martian, “in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option. I’m going to science the shit out of this,” and that’s exactly what crew 188 plans to do during our residence at the Mars Desert Research Station. Collectively, we have brought over $30,000 worth of research equipment in hopes to advance scientific knowledge. MDRS provides a unique space in which scientific research can be conducted as if a crew of explorers were carrying out experiments on Mars. Crew 188 offers a diversity of backgrounds and expertise that, collectively, would support groundbreaking discoveries, and innovations, if we were truly on Mars, and aim to tackle the big questions.

These big questions we will be tackling include: how a crew will maintain the health and performance of astronauts living and working in isolated conditions such as on Mars and overcome difficulties; what an optimum extra vehicular activity (EVA) suit and glove design would be for ensuring protection and functionality for its user in extreme conditions; mitigation of dust contamination from EVA’s; optimum crop production with minimal resources in reduced gravity situations; experimental and immersive astronautical performance following a journey that transcends through Earth’s atmosphere and beyond; a 360º camera will capture performance astronautics to give observers a complete and immersive perspective of living on Mars; collection of micrometeorites to add to a worldwide database aiming to yield clues to the solar system’s formation; and last but not least, using in situ chlorophyll detectors to detect signs of life as if on a Mars rover. For a more information please find a more detailed description of our research plans below, and in the meantime, stay tuned for scientific updates!


SCIENCE: 
Summary of Research Experiments

1. Increasing Spaceflight Analogue Mission Fidelity by Standardization of Extravehicular Activity Metrics Tracking and Analysis 
Spaceflight analogues include human simulations that attempt to match as many variables of a real mission as possible, but here on Earth and at a fraction of the cost. Each analogue has unique environmental and human performance testing conditions, but they all have limitations. The goal of this Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (S.U.I.T. Lab) research is to improve simulation fidelity through Extravehicular Activity (EVA) data collection, analysis, and feedback, which will help humanity prepare for destinations such as the Moon or Mars. The investigation of human performance data with respect to workload expenditure will help identify energy limitations, thus training explorers to maximize their potential.

2. Remote Video Capture Analysis of Spacesuits for Spaceflight Analogue Expeditions
The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (S.U.I.T. Lab) is designing protocols for the recording of analytical videos for analogue spacesuit performance. This approach derives how to communicate effective instructions to a remote crew, and then analyze simulated spacesuit performance. The protocol development has future applications for distant diagnosis of spacesuits, for example a crew on Mars may need expert technicians on Earth to troubleshoot range of motion (ROM) limitations. Key results and recommendations will be presented in this paper aiming to help advance analogue expeditions and missions to the Moon and Mars.

3. Dust Abrasion and Operations Investigation of Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment (TMG) Gloves 
Dust on planetary bodies in a known problem for equipment and astronaut health, as the extreme abrasiveness can cut through the layers of a spacesuit. Dust particles present health risks to astronauts and exposure must be mitigated before sending crews to Mars and beyond. One of the most intricate parts of a spacesuit is the glove. The gloves must have an extremely high range of dexterity to enable astronauts to complete their tasks correctly and efficiently. Wear and tear on the gloves will be recorded and analyzed after the completion of the MDRS analogue mission.

4. Martian Dust Filter Tests
As humans venture further into space more issues correlated to space travel are being discovered. While the perils of dust particles may not be widely recognized, it is one of the major issues astronauts will face on the surface of the Moon and Mars. Dust particles present a problem for both astronaut health and equipment. Dust particles cling to spacesuits, which upon ingress would begin circulating throughout the spacecraft or habitat. An astronaut’s health is compromised by the dust particle’s potential to stick to the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses. Data collected from this research will further facilitate the mitigation of astronaut’s exposure to dust particles on the surface of celestial bodies.

5. In-situ testing of VEGGIE prototype plant growth hardware: Orbital Aquifer System for VEGGIE (OASYS)
We will bring a GreenHab experiment to test a new prototype vegetation system, invented by NASA KSC scientists, for watering plants in reduced gravity environments. Salad bar style lettuce is an ideal vegetable for this demonstration as it is quick to grow and easy to germinate from seeds. The purpose of this research project is to further test candidate crops that need to be performed through an analog study prior to being grown aboard ISS.

6. Performing Astronautics
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell’s MDRS research forms part of an Australia Council Fellowship project titled Performing Astronautics. Performing Astronautics explores the bodily practice of navigation beyond Earth’s atmosphere as an Experimental and Emerging Art. Explored in parallel phases combining: 1) instrumental/speculative and 2) operational/performative experimentation and exploration through participation in space analogue training and human spaceflight mission simulations.

7. Bending Horizons 360 
“Bending Horizons 360” is supported by Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform [MIVP] with the provision of the Insta360 Pro Camera. The aim is two-fold: firstly to support collaborations with fellow crew researching EVA spacesuit validation [in partnership with
Final Frontier Design FFD], environmental interactions, science and engineering engagement, human factors and performance research. Secondly, to produce speculative fiction short films, new 3D artifacts and novel expressions of video data to capture the range of human-environmental interactions on the Mars Analogue environment supporting a future collaborative partnership between Dr. Sarah Jane Pell and A/Prof David Barnes.

8. Potential Human Activities to Improve Quality of Life on Mars
This research project is looking for how the quality of life can improve during Mars simulation as a case study. Currently quantitative data shows that the human activity should be regulated. However, because of long-time requirement for Mars habitat mission, identifying how astronauts’ quality of life can improve during Mars mission need to develop is very important to maintain mission efficiency and space activity as well. This research project is primary looking for what available human activity can improve the quality of life during Mars habitat mission in the future.

9. Project Stardust
This collaborative meteorological investigation of micrometeorite samples collected from field sites all over the world now includes samples taken from MDRS. These types of analyses on Earth help us understand how the solar system was formed as we venture out to explore it.

10. In-situ Chlorophyll Detection
“Are we alone?” is a fundamental human question that is shared by humanity. The answer may be right around the corner or perhaps never come but we will never get closer to that answer if we don’t search for life. Researchers from NASA and Robotics Everywhere LLC (www.f3.to) have collaborated on a handheld Chlorophyll detector that can be operated in the field, indoors, and hopefully, underneath a rover using Chl-florescence.

11. Mars-to-Mars Hangout: Connecting Mars Basecamps Across the Red Planet
The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, will gain communication and opportunity benefits during its two-week mission period by live video connecting with the AMADEE-18 analogue simulation simultaneously running a Mars research mission, located in Dhofar Region, Oman.

Journalist Report – February 3rd

Simulation: Imitation of a situation or process for research and training
SOL-6 Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

The theme of this report is Simulation. It is the second report in a short series responding to the MDRS “Safety, Simulation, and Science” priority of operations.

BACKGROUND:
First and foremost, the MDRS analogue attempts to curate a research station model supporting the professional relationship and activities of early settlers.

The simulation, by its nature, combines real working facilities on Earth Mars-like terrain, with instruments and systems for the imitation of a Mars-like situation and various associated process for research and training. There are collective and individual jobs to get done in developing and maintaining the station. Crews define an assigned role and a job position for each member with a myriad of tasks to perform, and conditions to explore.

Ultimately, the MDRS simulation offers an experience for contributing to a body of situational or process-based knowledge unraveling the intricate inner working of establishing a human foothold on Mars.

The simulation evokes many responses. There are moments when we feel like visitors, tourists, customers, test-subjects, staff, scouts, students, researchers, settlers, crewmembers, trainees, simulants and occasionally, frontier explorers.

SIMULATION:
Today, two teams of three Analogue Astronauts simulated “spacewalks” or extravehicular activities [EVAs] across the MDRS Mars-analogue terrain. We designated EVA-7 as an opportunity to implement formal briefing procedures and techniques derived from related analogue EVA SIM procedures (underwater). [See MDRS Crew 188 EVA Coordinator Briefing and De-brief Protocols below. We welcome any suggestions or feedback, and include here for future crews to reference, noting donning and doffing checklists would also be helpful for MDRS EVA Operations].

The EVA-7 profile supported a three-hour spacewalk by three astronauts on the MDRS analogue site to troubleshoot a navigation issue, perform a bubble experiment along the ridge overlooking the habitat, and capture activities in 6K 360 3D Video in-situ. [See EVA reports]

The ways the simulation maintained “high-fidelity” included: instances of loss of direction or radio communication, high winds, unchartered pathways such as climbing up the cliff face, the variety of surface conditions over the 1000 feet elevation, the incredibly rich red and amber marmalade geology, the exertion activities themselves, team-work, sense of adventure and the shared mission.

Ways that the simulation was “broken” included: picking up commercial rubbish in the ravines, watching an SUV drive by along Cow Dung Road, encountering plant biodiversity on the open plains, noticing animal tracks along the ridges, looking out for rattlesnakes and cougars, and using a digital phone as an instrument for checking time.

But, these are the surface conditions: let’s dig a little deeper into the experience. It is not just space, rather the spatiality of the embodied experience, and how we react and feel that determines our relationship to the simulation.

We are “in simulation” when we feel that we need to be ultimately resourceful in charting our own experience. In other words, the conditions need to support our navigation through an experience, with autonomy and agency. Zak Trolley describes many instances where we must suspend our beliefs and open ourselves to the imagined, and this is made easier by proximity to the Mars-like landscape. For example, looking up through the red hills towards the ridge summit, it is easy to see yourself following the Curiosity Rover pathways.

However once reaching the road at the top of the ridge, you have to work so much harder to imagine belonging to an outpost on Mars. On an EVA, Dr. Ryan Kobrick reports the feeling of being constrained to the limitations and requirements of wearing the life-support systems, relying on navigational and time-stamped operations and waypoints, and undertaking pre-authorised research tasks also strengthens the social and collective simulation.

These types of elements draw us closer to the inner experience of the simulation: conscious of the shift in space and spatiality of your own body in time, and perspective. It is a delicate dance between suspending aspects of reality and illusionism, fact and fiction, the serious and the phantasmagorical.

As this the second most important aspect of the MDRS experience, we are embracing and discussing ways to support each other in the enhancement and fidelity of the simulation experience, through playing out the socially coded nature of our roles and curating the themes of our own perspectives.

We recommend that future crews consider an EVA to the top of the ridge to look back over the MDRS station. From that vantage, you can fully appreciate the isolation and beauty of the Mars-analogue site, you can film and be filmed, and the perspective helps frame where you are, and why you would come here.

MDRS Crew 188 EVA Coordinator Briefing Protocols
The EVA Coordinator for each EVA SIM is responsible for conducting a pre-EVA briefing in the presence of the entire EVA team (including Astronauts (EV.1. EV.2. EV.3…,) CapCom, Safety/Medical Officer, Astronaut Attendants and any Technical Specialists). Each team member has a responsibility to give their full attention during the briefing, as in the event of an incident any team member may be required to initiate and/or control emergency procedures.

The content of this briefing must include at least the following information, and must be modified to take account of any other details specific to the particular extra vehicular simulation operation being considered:
1. Identification of the EVA Coordinator (they would normally be the person giving the briefing) and EVA Commander/s for the EVA/s (may or may not be the EVA Coordinator);
2. Nomination of Roles Analogue Astronauts, Standby Astronauts and Astronaut Attendants for the EVA, where applicable
3. Details of life-support equipment to be used during the EVA/s, including any habitats, vehicles, or mobile SSBA (LP compressor or bottle bank), SCUBA, CLLSP pack, oxygen equipment, and First Aid/safety
4. List equipment and any other specific items needed; including vehicles, personal protective equipment, payload instrumentation, tools, guidance and navigation material, timepiece, safety or research equipment
5. Allocation and description of tasks of each EVA team member, outlining all procedures for the extravehicular activity simulation;
6. Full details of the EVA plan, specifically including mission objectives, location, duration, tasks, risk, hazards, mitigation strategies, EVA termination procedures, ‘in SIM’ emergency procedures, safety checks, and communication procedures;
7. Confirmation with Attendant/s and Standby Astronauts/s of their duties, including keeping visual contact with Analogue Astronaut/s or their communications and knowledge of protocols for recovery of injured Astronauts from the analogue environment, rescue procedures, and out of SIM emergency/evacuation procedures;
8. A briefing of each individual regarding their specific tasks, and for analogue astronauts, a check on their fitness to perform the EVA (i.e. asking about tiredness, or any colds, flu’s or injuries they may have, and overall willingness and wellbeing);
9. Details of expected ‘in SIM’ conditions, including weather and terrain conditions, visibility, temperature, range of radio communications, exposure/isolation etc. (NB. these must be confirmed once at the analogue site);
10. Recall signals and protocols;
11. EVA termination points e.g. low air/minimum air limits, technical equipment failure, change of conditions, time in SIM, loss of visibility, fatigue, cold, oxygen toxicity limits, etc.
12. Answers to any queries.
As well as the above, once at the analogue site, the EVA Coordinator must perform the following tasks:
1. Re-evaluate the site, conditions, team, tasks and consequent duration of the EVA;
2. Reconfirm all Analogue Astronaut’s and Standby Astronaut’s health, air supply, equipment etc.;
3. Ensure all required information is recorded on the ‘EVA Record’ Form (may be delegated to CapCom);
4. Conduct a final evaluation of all Analogue Astronaut’s equipment and dress.
MDRS Crew 188 EVA Coordinator De-Briefing Protocols
After every EVA, the EVA Coordinator must conduct a post-EVA debrief with all EVA personnel on the simulation including the following:
1. Checking the health of all simulation astronauts, and recording details of any issues or incidents encountered, including discussing whether risk assessment controls were effective;
2. Noting all tasks achieved and any irregularities described by the astronaut/s;
3. Recording equipment problems encountered, and ensuring the equipment is tagged OUT OF SERVICE;
4. Notifying each astronaut of their EVA details as recorded;
5. Notifying each astronaut of their repetitive group designator, and the time they left the air-lock and the EVA;
6. Detailing any post EVA restrictions to each astronaut, including altitude, heavy work, exercise or showering restrictions, and ensure the astronaut understand these.
As well, the EVA Coordinator should coordinate with the Safety/Medical Officer:
7. Check each astronaut’s health 1, 6, 24 & 48 hours after the EVA (where practicable);
8. Ensure they and the EVA Leader (if other than EVA Coordinator), sign the EVA Record Form/s for the day.
9. Prepare the EVA Report for Mission Control

Journalist Report – February 2nd

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 02FEB2018

Safety, Security, and Smelling Gas: Procedures on Mars

SOL-5 Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

During site inductions, Dr. Rupert, Director of the Mars Desert Research Station, explained that “Safety, Simulation, and Science” are the order of priorities and operation during the MDRS Crew rotations. The theme for this report is Safety. Dedicated Simulation and Science reports will follow in the coming days.

BACKGROUND: The MDRS station was designed to mimic the systems integration of a future Martian outpost that supports an optimum crew of 3-7 people. The facilities include the basic infrastructure for self-sustaining living, and supporting typical planetary research-activities and science from astronomy to human health. In addition to the main habitat, there is a green house, a science dome, solar panel array, an engineering unit, parking space, incinerator, generator and two observatories. There are open-air wire tunnels between each module. Since arriving, we have been discovering, documenting and discussing the status of the station’s safety equipment as a matter of priority. 

SAFETY: As the Operations reports show, our Crew has been responding to a Propane leak recorded in the main habitat: the place where we eat, sleep, train, relax, prepare reports and prepare for EVA work. As an expert commercial diver with a vested interest in identifying combustible gas, I reported the leak to the Director during our first safety briefing. Subsequently the crew began reporting the same smell in large concentrations on the first and second floors with noticeable concentrations above the gas heater, the gas stove, and crew rooms without ventilation ports. Engineer Zac Trolley and the crew have worked methodically and professionally to report, identify, localize and mitigate exposure to the build-up on site to address this safety concern. We are grateful for the support of Commander Ryan Kobrick (Second Engineer), Executive Officer Renee Garifi, the Mission Support Team, MDRS Director, and our HSO. Remember, we travelled from sea level to high altitude from four corners of the globe: we arrived jet-lagged and fatigued, to a dry, cold desert environment, to adjust to new surroundings as a crew for the first time. Many of our symptoms – bar the undeniable and nauseating odor – could be attributed to any number of causes. Fortunately, the tank readings, the Director’s observation, the combustible gas monitoring sensor and the old-fashioned “bubbles” test, confirmed our suspicions. We are now reassured that steps are being taken to addressing the issue. What happens on MDRS is always an opportunity to learn lessons in real-life for application in space. While our Crew is only here for two weeks, and we have access to fresh air without breaking simulation, we are mindful of the risks and hazards for crews on long-duration spaceflight and those living in confined space closed-loop systems such as submarines or underground mining stations, where contamination is a higher risk to human life than fire. How we respond to risk defines us. We hope to provide the Mars Society with a list of recommendations and simple provisions that were not provided for our SIM, in the hope of supporting the safety and fidelity of future simulation crews.

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

TED Fellow 2010, Australia Council Fellow 2016, Gifted Citizen 2016

The ‘Performing Astronautics: following the Body’s Natural Edge into the Abyss of Space’ project is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body http://www.artistastronaut.com

Artist, Occupational Diver, Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Simulation Astronaut http://www.sarahjanepell.com

Journalist Report – February 1st

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 01FEB2018

Mount Phoebus: A successful EVA by the Astronaut, Angel and MacGyver

SOL-4

Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

In underwater space analogues where the Astronaut trains for EVA simulations in Neutral Buoyancy, two divers support them: Angel who is responsible for the astronaut’s air-supply, and MacGyver who finds the tools and fixes everything so that the Astronaut can perform and accomplish the mission exercise objectives.

Today MDRS Crew 188 – EVA 4 with Julia De Marines (EV-4 Commander), Dr. Ryan Kobrick, and me (Dr. Sarah Jane Pell) were the embodiment of the successful Astronaut, Angel and MacGyver team. We set out to challenge ourselves and physically condition our bodies for the up-coming Martian Olympiad challenge by carrying our advanced life support systems, carrying out biometric and human factors research, creative research, biological survey and continued systems testing. We walked from the Habitat to Mount Phobeos and through incredibly diverse terrain. I carried a large pelican case containing the Insta360 Pro VR Camera system, an emergency whistle/compass/thermometer/light, and a bag containing a rubber ball and our national flags. Kobrick carried wearable cameras, a Garmin GPS, a toy car, and his body wired up with a range of wearable bio-monitoring systems. De Marines carried the first aid kit, camera, sampling bags and small tools for collecting biological material, and an Earth flag.

Heading out, De Marines found that her WalkieTalkie was only short-range, and therefore Pell and Kobrick had to maintain comms with HabCom. On route, the team found datum markers, chlorophyll specimens, and recorded 360 video of the Mars terrain, with the habitat and Mt. Phobeos. Upon the mountain ascent, Kobrick struggled with condensation and CO2 build up in his helmet. De Marines became his guide, his Angel. Half way up, Pell noticed that Kobrick had lost the sole of his boot. She “MacGyvered” the scarpa with her emergency whistle, tying the sole to his heal and ankle so that he could continue. Upon reaching the summit, his second boot sole came off. This time, Pell used shoes laces to keep it on so that he could descend. The EVA-4 Crew held their national flags aloft in the wind for photos and video taken by the HabCom crew in the Science Dome some 1mile away. After the celebrations and cool down from the wind and shade from the midday sun, Pell and De Marines led Kobrick down the descent route without incident, and the team followed the GPS directions back to collect the Insta360 Pro that had been recording the summit attempt in the midday sun. On route back to the Habitat, the crew found an enchanting small red canyon that we followed. It caused a brief disruption to communications, but it was incredibly scenic and led to some interesting sample discoveries including some ridged amber deposits. On the other side of the canyon, we found an open plain, and in our state of exhaustion and excitement, we played catch with the ball. Such a simple gesture, amplified our sense of fun and exploration. We had spent almost 3 hours in our suits and adjusted our gate, our balance, our sense of bodily extension and coordination to facilitate the augmentation of our life support systems and our apparatus: for this reason, playing with our coordination, dexterity, visibility and reflexes was itself a joyous discovery process. We continued on, with the habitat in sight, only to realise that Kobrick had dropped his walkie-talkie, and we had to back track to find it in the desert. With good humour, and an ease and openness for continued teamwork, problem solving and cooperation, we turned back with our payloads and made light work of our tracking. De Marines found the radio and we continued back to join the rest of the crew supporting us from HabCom. We were greeted with tall glasses of Gatorade, and water, and helped with our equipment, not before measuring our beginning and end total weight/mass and weight loss after the EVA. There were many adventures and learning curves today, and working to overcome these little challenges felt like exactly what it was that we came here for. On a lighter side, we felt that we were training for bigger things, and mused over our planned activities for a future Mars Olympiad. As it happens, the future Olympiad may not only be a test of individual performance but of team dynamics, endurance, and cooperation: where every successful crew, rotates the roles of the Astronaut, the Angel, and the MacGyver.

Journalist Report – January 31st

MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 31/01/2018

Human Factors: From Habitability to Humanity

SOL-3 Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell

Yesterday felt different. It began after the first six hours of uninterrupted sleep in nearly one Earth week. We convened at 8am for breakfast with a newfound clarity and resolve to self-organize, and prioritize the reasons that we came to MDRS. We structured the day to take steps towards realizing the potentials for our individual and collaborative research objectives. I couldn’t claim that we have found our groove, or fallen into a routine, but today there was a noticeable shift in momentum and perspective from the inner to the outer reaches of the MRSD experience, and back again.

In the morning, Dr. Ryan Kobrick, Tatsunari Tomiyama and Zac Trolley went on EVA-3 to survey the terrain: to geo-locate waypoints and calibrate the GPS with the existing Map coordinates, and scout for suitable research sites. Julia De Mariners and Dr. Sarah Jane Pell set to work on advancing Sci-Art collaboration for the Super Blue Moon Total Eclipse this evening, and Renee Garifi commanded the Hab Comms.

After lunch, the team gathered in the Habitat communal space for a Human Factors research activity designed by Crew HSO Tatsunari Tomiyama. The exercise included 6 open questions for the group relating our MDRS experience of: Communication, Water, Hygiene, WiFi, Crew Roles, and Research. After discussion we provided a subjective score between: 1 – 5 (negative – positive). Our responses were recorded in an open-format discussion and documented via video. The exercise was incredibly valuable and insightful; opening us up to a collective yet nuanced personal experience of the simulation thus far. Well, that is, the exercise helped facilitate learning and a bonding experience for the participants, but the principal investigator did not participate or share with us his responses to these topics. He felt that he must place himself at a distance from the group. It struck me as an odd tension: playing the role of the ‘official observer’ and the HSO role of the analogue ‘astronaut crew’. Nonetheless, the reality of this dual-responsibility resonates with the anticipated demands of future Mars crews. I think back to Tomiyama’s choice of animal totem for life on Mars: the domestic cat, he said, leading to his crew call sign Tom Cat. We see him at meals times but we don’t get to know him through this deliberate displacement. It will be interesting to see how he maps how this affects the crew dynamics, and when he chooses to step in, and step out, of collective activities. We meet again next week, and at the end of the simulation to discuss the shift in our experience of these themes.

At the conclusion of the HSO activity, the crew leaped into action to workshop on the engineering challenge of supporting the artist-in-residence and astronomer’s hope to live stream the Total Lunar Eclipse. Trolley, Kobrick, and De Marinares worked with Pell on finding a suitable location to track the event, a systems installation supporting the camera and the telescope array, creative configuration and Kobrick, Garifi and De Marinares commenced liaison with the MDRS Director, Mission Control, Astronomy and IT support for the infrastructural help needed to execute on the grand idea. Once things were underway, De Marinares began scoping out her own research projects, and how they might be achieved, and balanced with her Green House responsibilities. Engineer Trolley commenced a complete evaluation and status report of all vital systems to bring clarity to the web of interdependency and make-shift, and Commander Kobrick problem-solved from one system to another, while making sure he could map out pathways to support his own research, noting he still had boxes to unpack, necessary for concurrent research demands to be met.

As the sun set, our collective energies shifted to reflect on the big picture: as the reality of the domestic demands from the system maintenance, and interruptions sheds light on the limited time available to us, and challenges arising from prior misconceptions and expectations of autonomy and agency, we chose to focus on what we are here to achieve, and how we may best serve the MDRS community with our commitment and contribution.

It was the perfect evening for a Total Lunar Eclipse. The Crew went to sleep early while the Artist-in-Residence stayed up until 4:40am to attempt a live stream of the phenomena in 4K Panorama Video. As the red halo began a partial eclipse, the crew emerged with cameras, telescopes, slippers and scarves to brace the cold and look to the elliptical glow. At once incredibly beautiful, and infinitely intriguing still. We went to sleep pondering over the view from Mars… would we see an Eclipse of Phobos and what would it be like? I imagine that it would conjure universal feelings that we would share with our Earthly ancestors.

Journalist Report – January 30th

Crew 188 Sol 2 Journalist Report 30JAN2018

Sol 2
Summary Title: It’s only Sol 2?
Author’s name: Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D., MDRS Crew 188 Commander

It’s only Sol 2? This is a common type of question asked by hard working groups, and it usually implies a complete unawareness of elapsed time. This phenomenon is insightful that there is strong group cohesion, and is the unfortunate side effect of working too hard. But time is not on our side. Our mission simulation has less than two weeks to climb a science-mountain of projects and ambitious goals to share photos, videos and stories with the world.

Each crewmember was carefully selected by the “Team ISU on Mars” alumni with input from the International Space University who reviewed their strong resumes. Each member of our team has brought their own research projects to test in this analogue environment from their original proposals a YEAR ago. The crew is excited to share their work, their stories, and their experiences as this mission simulation unfolds. Tonight will be a story for the ages, possibly the largest multi-crew, mission support, and Earth-based undertaking of the mission. The event: the observation of the lunar eclipse, a.k.a. the Super Blue Blood Moon. Super because the Moon is apogee (closest approach in an elliptical orbit). Blue because a “Blue Moon” refers to a calendar month with two full Moons. And Blood for the lunar eclipse where the Moon will appear red from atmospheric distortion when Earth’s shadow is cast over the lunar surface. With more branches than a tree, the “what-if” scenarios for taking this event to the public from the desert may never be known. All I will add now is, stay tuned for tomorrow’s report and possible posts from late night on the red planet. The real question is, what will this be like for a crew on Mars watching two moons experiencing astronomical alignment?

Ok, onto today’s news. Our EVA team of Tat (Tomcat), Zac (Boltz), and myself (KOB1, pronounced koh-bee-one) had a productive EVA on the Rovers (two-seat electric off-roading golf carts named after the Martian rovers) mapping out a track along the primary routes with new waypoints. This was to help ground truth existing printed maps with reconnaissance and to help familiarize the crew with their working environment and potential scientific sites for future EVAs. It was my first EVA on these vehicles (they were used in EVA 002 the previous day by others) and a new experience. I was able to ride shotgun and watch my GPS like a hawk with a map in hand. This was extremely efficient as I had hands free to radio updates to my crewmates for our waypoint stops. Our time at MDRS is essentially composed of
experiences and moments. Even after being on 4 previous MDRS missions (25, 44, 56, and 58) and attending 2 University Rover Challenges as a judge, I knew when I signed up for my 7th trip to MDRS that there would plenty to learn. It’s been 10+ years since my last simulation (FMARS 2007 100-day simulation, a.k.a. F-XI LDM) and this trip is a refresher on what it’s actually like to be in the throes of a simulation so that I can stay current, almost like a recertification. MDRS campus has changed immensely in 10 years, but the beat of the simulation remains familiar. The crew back in the Hab was meticulously prepping for tonight’s event, a story best told tomorrow.

Oh one more thing I want to squeeze in here on my personal journey… HI RAFI, I’M ON MARS YAY!

Spacesuit Up!
Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D.
MDRS Crew 188 Commander