Geology/Mars Climate Report – December 29th

I rounded up all my time lapse cameras from the outside during our EVA today. I hope to use all this data I have collected in order to better understand the climate and surface features of Mars. This data coupled with the weather data will provide valuable insight. More information and the concluding remarks about the project will be showcased tomorrow in the final mission report.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 11 F – 45 F

Outdoor Humidity – 34% – 72%

GreenHab Temp – 23 F – 100 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 9% – 38%

Barometer – 29.85 – 30.05 inHg

Wind – 0.8 mph, gust – 2.5 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 402.0 W/m^2

UV Index – 778 uW/cm^2

Dew Point – 3.9 F – 22.5 F

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

The Final Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report will be showcased tomorrow in the final mission report, stay tuned.


Submitted by: Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist – Crew 171

Science Report – December 28th

Geology/Mars Climate Report 28122016:

The astrophotography exposure from last night turned out alright with
one of the time-lapse cameras. I put that camera over the mound just
West of the HAB to look at some stream channels flowing down the side
of a few hills.

My other camera is still looking at the HAB and the surrounding
mounds. It does not look like we will receive any more rain for the
rest of our mission. This doesn’t concern me too much as I can also
use this data to visually analyze the shape of these stream patterns,
even in their dry state.

One interesting aspect of the geology of Mars in regard to the first
human mission is landing site selection. Strategically, selecting a
location for the HAB and the power generators will be critical. An
enclave that provides protection from sandstorms but still has plenty
of sunlight for solar panels could work. There are many other factors
to consider: access to ice/water, geologically interesting features
and some protection from cosmic and solar radiation. With the thin
atmosphere and extremely weak magnetic field, electronics and power
supplied will need to be shielded or located underground.

The poles present abundant ice deposits at the surface but the frigid
temperatures will require more fuel and energy to sustain human life.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a menace.  Latitude is also a
factor. Many of the landers and rovers that have been to Mars are
located at the mid-latitudes. The pros and cons of every possible
landing site must be weighed.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 12 F – 43 F
Outdoor Humidity – 35% – 67%
GreenHab Temp – 22 F – 94 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 10% – 35%
Barometer – 29.67 – 29.87 inHg
Wind – 1.1 mph, gust – 2.5 mph
Solar Rad. Max – 399.8 W/m^2
UV Index – 777 uW/cm^2
Dew Point – 2.5 F – 19.6 F
Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

Final Sleep Study Report:

The crew’s sleep schedule is pretty much aligned at this point.
Geoffrey consistently wakes up first and starts doing work in the
kitchen. I usually wake up second and then the rest of the crew. I
think many people are sleeping in such a way that they are awake from
around 2-5 am to take advantage of the free internet. Overall,
everyone seems to be very productive. A couple of the crew members
take naps during the afternoon hours in order to stay rested. I think
that plenty of sleep is critical to work output. On Mars there could
be a plethora of other factors to consider with sleep. How does sleep
change with different levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen in
the atmosphere? Also, how does the reduced gravity affect sleep
patterns in the brain, if any? We’ll need to eventually find these
things out.


Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Science Report – December 27th

Geology/Mars Climate Report

The weather for the rest of the week looks pretty consistent with minimal wind and sun. Erosion features can be seen in the hills near the HAB. This time-lapse photography comes in handy here on “Mars” because we can use this analogue Mars terrain to study how the ancient geologic features could have formed on Mars. Melting snow and ice along with precipitation could have caused these features we see on Mars. The debate that still rages with planetary scientists and climatologists is: was the ancient climate of Mars “warm and wet” as opposed to today’s “cold and icy” climate? Where was ice distributed? The obliquity of the planet (the spin axis) may have been drastically different and thus the ice may have migrated over time.

Instead of having to go down to the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica to study these processes on Earth, we can study them here in this Mars-like environment to get a better understand of them. This in turn will tell us about the ancient climate of Mars and how it has evolved over time to the present day.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 11 F – 38 F

Outdoor Humidity – 30% – 62%

GreenHab Temp – 21 F – 91 F

GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 30%

Barometer – 29.75 – 29.94 inHg

Wind – 3.5 mph, gust – 4.5 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 385.2 W/m^2

UV Index – 743 uW/cm^2

Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

We know the atmospheric pressure at “sea level” on Mars is around 0.6% the pressure on Earth. This would mean that a 50 mph breeze on Mars would hardly be noticeable and that the beginning of the movie The Martian is inaccurate. It would take winds of unimaginable strength to knock a rocket over like that.

Since Mars is around 1.5X further from the sun the incident solar radiation would be around 2.25X reduced if we neglect the atmospheres (r^2 dependence for solar flux). However, the Martian atmosphere is much thinner and is of a different composition, so we’re not totally in the hole. This will bode well for solar panels on the surface but the atmosphere will have a different absorption pattern than Earth’s.

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Science Report – December 25th

Geology Report: Today we celebrated Christmas as a crew! On tomorrow’s EVA I plan to have the team check on the cameras because the strong winds we received last night may have blown them over. We had a few gusts over 30 mph. Today was again much sunnier and thus we saw increased solar radiation at ground level and much higher peak GreenHAB temps. My final two EVAs will be this week and I hope to gather some great data on them with the cameras before departing MDRS next Sunday. Hopefully we will see some wind-driven erosion in the time-lapse videos from the gales that occurred yesterday and today.

This week looks to contain many clear nights so I will use one of the time-lapse cameras set to night mode to record star movements in the sky.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 33 F – 45 F
Outdoor Humidity – 25% – 96%
GreenHab Temp – 36 F – 87 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 69%
Barometer – 28.97 – 29.44 inHg
Wind – 10-15 mph, gust – 32 mph
Solar Rad. Max – 439.6 W/m^2
UV Index – 912 uW/cm^2
Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Science Report – December 24th

Geology Report: Today I rounded up the first time-lapse camera that I
put outside. It seemed to function well in the elements and caught
scenes of the HAB and sky. The sky was clearer and we were actually
able to see the Sun which warmed the outside air and GreenHAB.

Today I placed that camera in a location near the HAB looking East
toward the main road and along a hillside. If we get rain today we may
see some drainage patterns or erosion features. The second camera was
placed just north of the HAB and is looking due North toward the Lower
Blue Hills and Skyline Rim.

Overall I hope to evaluate the use of this time lapse photography in
this Mars-like terrain in order to evaluate how effective it would be
on Mars.


Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report: In our second installment of
this philosophy report, we want to discuss the effects of living and
working on Mars on future astronauts. The radius of Mars is on the
order of half that of Earth and the mass is about 1/10. Using Newtons
Law the gravitational force on the surface of the planet will only be
40% that of Earth (actually 38%). This will result in progressive bone
loss over time and vision problems among other things.

Future astronauts will have to build exercise time and activity into
their busy schedules in order to stay healthy. Research is already
being done by NASA and on the ISS to see the effects of low gravity on
the human body. Hopefully we can think of every possible human factor
before sending humans to Mars. Only then will we be fully prepared.

Science Report – December 23rd

Science Reports
Geology Report: Outside the humidity has stayed high and the temperatures have remained fairly constant. The temperatures in the GreenHAB have stayed lower than what is optimal growing temperatures. The clouds have also reduced the Solar Flux reaching the ground and thus will hinder photosynthesis.

During our next EVA I will gather my time lapse camera from near the HAB and place another one outside that points toward a geologically interesting area. Near one of the hill sides by the HAB could be good because the forecasted rain will drain and we can watch the change over time.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 31 F – 37 F
Outdoor Humidity – 88% – 99%
GreenHAB Temp – 50 F – 62 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 39% – 49%
Barometer – 29.50 – 29.60 inHg
Wind – 3.0 mph, gust – 4.5 mph
Solar Flux Max – 132.1 W/m^2
UV Index – 455 uW/cm^2
Recorded Precipitation – 0.04 in


Mars Self-Sleep Study Update: Even though we have struggled with adhering to the new sleep schedule, we recognize that it would probably improve our 24 hr productivity. This new schedule would prove to be beneficial because our window of free WiFi is from 2-7 MST (Mars Standard Time). We can be awake during a big chunk of this time and get some work done.

In general I think we are more productive as a crew when we go to bed earlier and get up earlier. If we were to go to bed by around 9 pm and wake up by 5 am we might be more productive in the mornings. Experimenting these new sleep schedules (either in one chunk or multiple) proves to be difficult but will pay off for future astronauts.


Philosophy of Colonizing Mars Report: I want to start discussing in this new report the ethics and vision of colonizing Mars. As a crew we feel this is an important issue to make public as we immerse ourselves in this research simulation. One idea I want to talk about in this first installment is planetary protection of the environment. When we create a permanent human settlement on the surface of Mars we will have to think about the ways in which we will protect the environment and to what extent it will be altered. Global warming is obviously an issue we know about here on Earth. On Mars we must think critically about the effects of our actions so that we can work and thrive while maintaining a balance with the Martian landscape.

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicis

Science Report – December 22nd

Science Report
EVA Proposed Plan SOL 5 – We had to cancel the EVA for SOL 4 due to the inclement weather here at the HAB. For SOL 5 we propose the same format of EVA as SOL 3 but for the other three crew members who did not set out on SOL 3 (Geoffrey, Brittany and Sean). They will go to the dinosaur quarry and explore via rover. They will also take a GPS and map in order to gauge how easy it is to navigate to a precise location. The coordinates of this final location are the same as SOL 3: Northing: 4257412, Easting: 518238 Zone 12S.

Geology: Today no one had an EVA due to the inclement weather. We noticed that over the past 24 hours the temperature has remained very constant due to these clouds that have been around. The air has also spiked in humidity this afternoon which could be a factor in keeping the daily temperatures stable. The temperatures in the GreenHAB have also remained steady. The desired temp is 75 in the GreenHAB all the time, so this is an improvement from the wild temperature fluctuations the first couple days.

An interesting observation is that even though today the solar radiation was lower due to the clouds, the UV flux stayed about the same as past days. Proof that even on a cloudy day you need sunscreen!

The barometric pressure is lower today and has been dropping slightly this afternoon.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 29 F – 35 F
GreenHab Temp – 53 F – 68 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 46%
Barometer – 29.52 – 29.92 inHg
Wind – 1.5 mph, gust – N/A mph
Solar Rad. Max – 173.9 W/m^2
UV Index – 526 uW/cm^2
Outdoor Humidity – 35% – 98%

Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist

Science Report – December 21st

Mars Self Sleep Report Study/Crew Well being:

Last night I tried to get up at 2 am but was not able to do work for
long before going back to sleep. I know our plan was to only sleep for
three hours at night and nap during the day but we found that the
first few days of adjusting to this process are the worst. Almost as
bad as flying to Europe or Asia through may time zones and adjusting.

We want to raise awareness of the time differences for a Mars mission
compared to living on Earth. How will the greater than 24 hr day on
Mars translate to astronauts work and sleep patterns? Obviously on
Mars, astronauts will be working and fixing things every minute while
they are awake. We want to see how we can maximize astronauts’

As a crew we are going to try and go to sleep earlier one night and
start our day by 6 am instead of 8 am like we usually do to see how
this improves or reduces productivity.

The crew seems to be in great spirits doing their work and surviving
here on Mars. Cannot wait to see what SOL 4-13 bring!!

Science Report – December 21st

Geology :
Today on our EVA we observed many interesting rock outcroppings and
geologic formations. It is easy to see the stratified rock layers in
exposed hillsides and cliffs. I moved the main weather station here at
the HAB from the roof to ground level outside the HAB. The reason for
this was that on the roof some of the heat from inside was affecting
the temperature measurements. On the next EVA that I go on I plan to
put another camera in a location of geologic interest (to be
determined) as well as collect the video data from the time-lapse
camera that has been sitting near the Hab for a couple days now. This
camera will have daytime geology data as well as star exposure.
Tomorrow it may snow here so I may give a camera to tomorrow’s EVA
team to set up outside somewhere.

I plan to move the weather station inside the GreenHAB within the next
couple days so that I can gather accurate weather data first. We want
to eventually move it into the GreenHAB in order to use the solar
sensor to measure solar flux in the Green HAB compared to outside.

The last time-lapse camera still sits inside the GreenHAB to monitor
progress there.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 18 F – 42 F
GreenHab Temp – 47 F – 73 F
Barometer – 29.81 – 29.87 inHg
Wind – 3.5 mph, gust – N/A mph
Solar Rad. Max – 201.7 W/m^2
UV Index – 576 uW/cm^2
Outdoor Humidity – 17% – 41%

Science Report – December 20th


Today’s work (Sol 2) was all about setup and preparation of the
equipment necessary for transplant of cultivars into the GreenHab.
The first task in this process was to review the temperature data from
the night of Sol 1 and determine if turning on the heater had the
desired effect of keeping the climate acceptable for plant growth.
While the hab remained above freezing all night (recorded low of 48 F)
we determined it was likely that the gradient effect was preventing
the warm air from getting down to the level of the temperature sensor.
Therefore, we installed a box fan above the cooler to help increase
the air circulation and hopefully reduce this gradient.  We also
experienced a high of 108.7 F at 12:17.  We are now manually using
both the heater and cooler for the coming days to try and maintain a
relatively constant temperature moving forward.  We are postponing the
move of plant from the hab to the GreenHab until tomorrow to ensure
acceptable temperature variation througout the day.  During EVA, we
evaluated the systems that are currently in the GreenHab and prepared
the equipment for the introduction of the plants tomorrow.  We also
turned the cooling fan on during the middle of the day again to help
regulate and equalize the temperature.  When the first group came back
from their EVA, Curtis & Co. was also at the hab and we were able to
have a very informative discussion with them about the plans for the
aquaponics system.  They will be back later in the week with necessary
equipment to help assist with that setup process as necessary.  The
last major accomplishment for us was the germination of several
species of seeds that will be moved into the GreenHab tomorrow.  These
species included Green Oak Lettuce, Red Oak Lettuce, Radish, Pinto
Bean, Kidney Bean, Popcorn, Carrot, Spinach, Onion and a mystery crop
whose seeds were discovered in the pantry upon our arrival into the
hab. Yay Mystery Crop!


Today I installed the weather station on the roof of the HAB with the
help of Crew Engineer Geoffrey Andrews. The weather station on the top
of the HAB will provide a good vantage point so that the solar
radiation sensor will be unobstructed. This data will be used by the
GreenHab scientists in order to quantify solar radiation changes
throughout the day. I plan on moving this weather station to the
GreenHab eventually to compare solar radiation levels.

One of the time-lapse cameras was placed in the GreenHab today to
record the progress in there throughout the duration of the mission.
Tomorrow I plan to install a time-lapse camera on our EVA at our final
destination to monitor the landscape.

Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 10 F – 51 F

GreenHab Temp – 46 F – 108 F

Wind – 11.9 mph, gust – 12.3 mph

Solar Rad. Max – 592.7 W/m^2

UV Index – 3

Outdoor Humidity – 12% – 45%

Mars Self-Sleep Study:
Anselm, the crew journalist and I Connor have decided to embark on a
change of our sleep patterns in order to gauge the effects and
application to sleep patterns on Mars. We have decided we need more
time for work and a changed sleep pattern may help with this. Most
people sleep by getting 6-8 hours at night and being awake for 16-18
hours during the day. Instead of this pattern, Anselm and I have
decided to reduce our nightly chunk of sleep to 3-4 hours and two one
hour naps during the day. This will increase our overall awake time
during the day to 19 hr. I anticipate being tired the first day but
then adjusting quickly to this pattern.

Hopefully if this works and we become much more productive, we can
recommend these types of patterns for future astronauts. The Martian
day is a little over 24 hours and this has proven to mess up humans’
sleep cycles in certain tests. We want to explore alternative sleep

11-2 am sleep

(7 hr awake)

9-10 am nap

(6 hr awake)

4-5pm nap

(6 hr awake)