22 March 2017 – Sol 11
Dear Mission Support,
We went to the East to see the Jurassic formations in White Rock Canyon
with petrified sandbanks and dunes (Fig.1). I noted characteristic cross-
beddings. Similar beddings are noticable in Gale crater provided by the
Curiosity rover (Fig2). For milions years on Mars and on Earth layers of
small rock pieces have been deposited in a similar way and now they have
been exposited by erosion.
Commander and Crew geologist, MDRS Crew 176
Crew 176 Science Report 23 March 2017
23 March 2017 – Sol 12
Dear Mission Support,
I have done comparison of sedymentations between different sandstones as
well as in relation to blueberries found on Mars by Opportunity rover in
the Endurance crater. Inside sandstones developed at the turn of Jurassic
and Cretaceous I have found near the habitat (Fig.1), there are
concretions in a side up to 1 cm, while in the layers originated from
Cretaceous in Member of Mancos Shale (Ferron Sandstone)(Fig.2) these
concretions have size of a few milimeters only. However, for example in
the Miocene layers dating from 6 million years ago in Romania in Costesti,
in Museum Trovanţilor(Fig.3) the concretions have diameters up to 5 m. The
characteristic feature is that such concretions are produced in very
fine-grained sandstones. In all these cases, scientists refer to river
deltas in which these concretions have formed. They are the result of
cementation, or the process of transformation of loose rock sediments into
a compact rock. This is the result of the fill by the cementation of the
free space between the sediment grains. Because the grains of a sand are
the result of rolling by water currents they have a spherical form,
combining them with merging solutions, for example due to calcium
carbonate or sulphate and clay minerals in the case of Mars, and then take
the form of a ball. It is said that on Mars were flowing rivers, which
could have also deposited large amounts of sediment. It is unknown exactly
whether these rivers carried sand similar to terrestrial or just altered
volcanic material. In any case, it is assumed that the concretions on Mars
were generated under the conditions of water which flow carrying the
solutions primarily of sulfates and clay minerals in addition the iron
oxides deposited on them (Fig.4)like in the case of spherules from Navajo
Sandstone from Jurassic formations .
Commander and Crew geologist, MDRS Crew 176
Yesterday we went to the West towards the rocks of the Middle Ages Cretaceous. I noticed that the large sandstone and mudstone walls of Ferron Sandstone Member were characterised by high erosion. Also, huge boulders lay on the road. I assume they earlier broke off and rolled down as a result of erosion. The landscape resembled the images provided by the HiRISE camera of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from the Candor Chasma area. The images in question showed that the layers in the Chasma Canyon are not completely horizontal and are not homogeneous (Fig.1), (http://www.uahirise.org/nl/ESP_017174_1730). In case of the Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone, it consists of a series of deltaic systems stacked one above another and not a single prograded delta (T. A. Ryer, 1981), (Fig.2). Therefore, one of the possibilities is that the layers of the Chandor Chasma may be deposited by flowing rivers, through the Valles Marineris canyon.
Natalia Zalewska Commander and Crew geologist, MDRS Crew 176
After few days of tests and calibration, finally I have configured stereoscopy system on Gaja rover.
The idea of stereoscopy is based on how human sight works. Given two shifted pictures, human mind creates an illusion of depth and 3D. This solution is implemented in our system.
First part of it consist of 2 cameras placed about 7 cm from each other, on a moving mounting on a rover. This distance is approximately the same as between human eyeballs. The second one are special Virtual Reality Goggles with LCD screen displaying the video. Video for each eye comes from different camera so they are shifted a bit.
Our tests proved that wearing goggles you can feel like observing the world from robot’s point of view. The depth of image is not as visible as natural sight, but someone can clearly tell if some object is closer of further than another.
This system can be useful in many fields. For example, when you operate a robot, you can now better recognize the surroundings and plan every move, if you know where exactly in space everything is placed.
One of the systems, that you have to check in the Hab all the time is water tank at loft. It is a reservoir of all water flowing to taps, shower and toilet. Everyone need to control the level of water and refill from external tank before it reaches the limit.
Although the tank is partially transparent, in bad lighting it is hard to tell if it is full.
Today, when I saw that the level is below the limit, I decided to solve that problem by creating an electronic water level detector.
The detector consist of two metal electrodes sunk inside the tank and connected to an electronic board (Arduino). When the electrodes are covered with water, electric current flows between them and the voltage is measured by Arduino. If the water is below the limit, the current doesn’t flow through the wires. It is a signal to refill the tank and it is displayed by flashing LED. Everything is powered by one 9-volt battery.
Tests performed on a water in a mug confirmed that the system works properly. We installed it in a tank and we are waiting for the further results of the tests.
Yesterday we went to the Murphy’s Canyon. I noticed interesting crystallization of gypsum in the form of ridges sticking from the surface.
The images taken by different Martian rovers (e.g. Curiosity) show that such crystallization occurs on Mars, which proves the activity of water. In a different place there I also noticed pits caused by characteristic dissolution of sandstone by aqueous solutions.
Such dissolution is a good comparison of chemical weathering by which we can recognize the existence of sandstones and identify them on Mars.
Natalia Zalewska Commander, MDRS Crew 176 and Crew Geologist
15 March 2017 – Sol 4
Dear Mission Support,
I am in the hab. ! I continue study of the geology map. I have done rock
separation from Cretaceous Dacota Formation and Jurassic Morrison
Formation. Base on my study I concluded that fluvial sandstone originate
from Morrison Formation and concretions in the light sandstone from
Commander, MDRS Crew 176
and Crew Geologist
EVA #1 approaching to conglomerate Dacota Formation, 1,5 km from habitat and the study of geology map to identify place of collected samples. These Cretaceous Dacota Sandstone and Conglomerates originated due to very strong flow of water. This formation is comparable with images from Curiosity rover from surface of Martian Gale Crater. The rock consists with 1-2 cm pebbles.
Preliminary observation, using ATV, of mesas weathering processes along
the way to the canion. Since my last stay 12 years ago, strong erosion is
noticeable. Erosion is caused by fluvial processes.
In addition, preliminary observations of sandstone J \ K layers were made.
Observation regarded their cementation by iron oxide.
Experiment: Optinvent AR Glasses Person filling in the Report: Louis Maller
Today the glasses were taken on a non-verbal EVA, worn by Arthur Lillo. They were connected to my computer in the Hab by LAN, so I could access to the glasses camera, and the files inside the glasses.
Today’s EVA was to be done without any radio comm from and between the EVA buddies (they could only receive instructions from the Hab). So the glasses were quite useful as they allowed to monitor their activities, see what they were doing.
A screenshot of the image was used to get to know the level of water inside the tank.
Head movement detection was used to record a certain amount of information using the voice record function. I was able to access the files from inside the hab as soon as they had been recorded (or as soon as the glasses were back in range), so that way we had information of the level of the two trailer tanks, gasoline tank, propane, and state of Deimos with only a slight lag.
When the crew went to check propane, the signal was lost. When they came back, we instructed the glasses’ bearer to nod in order to relaunch AirDroid. It worked, so I regained signal and was able to access to the data that had been stored.
From inside the hab it was quite a success.
I could see on the camera that Arthur was frequently using his glove in front of his face, in order to better see the screen of the glasses, so the visibility of the notifications is still an issue. Arthur told me that indeed it would have been nice to have a continuous signal on the screen indicating that the recording is ongoing. There are a few instances when the recording ran to its maximum time (5:17).
The movements necessary to launch these actions are also new to him, so sometimes I think he moved maybe with too much or too little amplitude, and of course being in the helmet and wearing the backpack make some of these movements difficult. His feedback is that the movements should be easier to do inside the helmet. The difficulty with that is that the movement should not be so easy to do that they would be done accidently all the time. I think also what lacked is training to properly do the movements in an efficient way.
The glasses are connected to a portable battery charger, so they should not run out of charge at all during the EVA, nor display the battery alert prompter at any time.
They came back near to the hab at around 1000 and I could regain connection with the glasses, see through the camera and download files. The quality of the recording is all right, even though the reverberation in the helmet can make it hard to understand, and it is worse when there is wind.
Experiment: Seismometer Person filling in the report: Mouadh Bouayad The seismometer has been recovered today from its place, and the hole it was in filled in. The data was recovered with it and analyzed in the days to come.
Experiment: Solar Balloon Person filling in the report: Simon Bouriat The EVA today recovered the balloon’s anchor, and the part of the platform to which it was attached. We can therefore conclude that it detached from the rest of the platform, as the balloon drifted away.