Sol Summary – May 23rd

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-23-2024
Sol: 11
Summary Title: The Martian
Author’s Name: Prakruti Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

Aravind, Avery, and Noah went on a walking EVA across Hab Ridge. Rishabh and I were on comms. They were in the area behind the hab eventually able to see the Hab and me and Rishabh. They took a lot of cool pictures of the ridge and valleys across it. They were also able to take a picture of us on the Hab Ridge from the Hab.

Then, we took a short break before preparing for mine, Kristina, and Rishabh’s EVA. During this break, the astronomy team (Avery & Kristina) assembled and were working through their code. And the science dome team (me, Aravind, and Noah) were classifying samples and deciding what I would bring back from the next EVA.

Avery was on comms while me, Rishabh, and Kristina went on our EVA. We drove to Marble Ritual and walked some areas there. Rishabh taught Kristina how to use the drone and they got more footage. We also got one last soil sample from the area that I needed to confirm certain results we were working on! Then, we decided to get some content for our socials and donors and drove back. Rishabh was able to film us with the drone while driving back.

Then Noah, Aravind, and I went back to the science dome and prepared the new sample in the jar and started working on our analysis. We finished the volcanic activity analysis and impact. Now we are working on the sustainability samples and the PDMS ones.

The astronomy team processed four sets of solar images!

Sol Summary – May 24th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-24-2024
Sol: 12
Summary Title: The End
Author’s Name: Prakruti Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Complete
Sol Activity Summary:

Avery and Kristina:
For Sol 12, the last sol, it was a productive day! Avery and Kristina used the morning to get final imaging done at the Musk Observatory, which yielded two sets of images. Afterwards, they closed the observatory for the final time. Following this, everyone got to work cleaning the Hab before their journey back to Earth. For example, Avery, Rishabh, Pari, and Kristina helped take inventory of the food and cleaning items of the Hab. Avery also helped sort and take out the trash, as well as put away dishes and vacuum.

For the last day here, Rishabh assisted in cleaning the lower level of the hab as well as cleaning up the RAM. He finished his project up and the videos are done processing. After this, he worked to film a thank you video for donors with Pari. He later did food inventory with Avery, Kristina, and Pari. Now he is doing his research summary.

Noah, Aravind, and Pari:
Today, Pari, Noah, and Aravind cleaned out the science dome and finished up their experiments there. They’ve picked out some samples to send out for spectroscopy analysis–including 3 materials found at MDRS during EVAs. They cleaned out the radishes and cleared out the entire area. Then, they finished their research analysis for the samples. Lastly, they also filmed a thank you video for donors. Pari worked with Avery, Kristina and Rishabh to do food inventory as well.

To MDRS: thank you so much for having us.

Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Commander

Sol Summary – May 13th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-13-2024
Sol: 1
Summary Title: Pilot
Author’s Name: Prakruti Raghunaryan
Mission Status Active:
Sol Activity Summary:

Kristina and Avery Summary:

First thing, we had a morning debrief to discuss a plan of action. Then, we received the laptop and did a secondary round of laptop repair attempts. We found the battery was dead, and the boot drive wasn’t connected. After, we fitted flight suits with the whole crew and chose which ones were best suited for each of us for our future EVAs. Once that was completed we broke for lunch and planned tomorrow’s EVAs. Command got back to us on the issues with our laptop. For the third time, we troubleshooted astronomy laptop logistics and got it working by plugging the boot drive into Avery’s laptop. With the current solar storms, we will try to get the Musk Observations working before sunset. One possible issue is that since the astronomy laptop could only connect to one USB, it may not connect to the telescope, as one USB port is currently being used to connect to Avery’s laptop. Then, we did our psychological evaluations and dinner.

Pari, Aravind, and Noah:

We started the day with a morning debrief to mark the start of our simulation. We created a plan for the day with the rest of our crew mates and headed to the science dome. We exfoliated four different types of samples: unsorted Martian soil, fine Martian soil, potting soil, and vermicompost. We also checked on the radishes and watered them. Then we went back and suited up in our flight suits. We did the adjustments for the EVA suits (for the two piece and one piece). We broke for lunch and took a short break after. Next, we had a meeting to plan the EVAs for tomorrow and the day after. We planned two EVAs for tomorrow and are likely getting more external sample to test out from the river bank. Then we went back into the science dome and exfoliated more of the unsorted and fine soil onto the PDMS. We also tested out the microscope. We created a LinkedIn page to showcase our current progress and are waiting for our crew members to finish up the astronomy project. Now we will break for dinner and do the psychological evaluations.

Crew Engineer did maintenance and checked the suits before try ons.

Sol Summary – May 14th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-13-2024
Sol: 2
Summary Title: The First Adventure
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

Pari, Aravind, Noah:
Today, Noah did a morning check on the radishes. Then we went on our first test EVA to Marble Ritual. We tested comms and took Perseverance as requested by Mission Control. We are pleased to report that the rover is working fine. We took Curiosity as well. When we got to Marble Ritual we parked and walked up a hill to test out our mobility in the suits. We were able to hike, take samples of some rocks we found that we believe will be interesting to look at the composition as the map indicated some sort of river bed that we would further like to investigate. We were able to drive back and end the mission smoothly. I (Pari) was also on comms when Kristina, Avery, and Rishabh went for their test EVA as well.

Avery, Kristina, Rishabh:
For Sol 2, we went on our test EVAs to Marble Ritual, taking photos for geological reference and social media outreach. Then, we had tacos for lunch and cleaned up the Hab. The weather was not suitable for observing, so Kristina and Avery worked on processing yesterday’s images. Later, Pari gave a debrief outlining a plan of action for the rest of the day, tomorrow, and the media visit

Sol Summary – May 15th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-14-2024
Sol: 3
Summary Title: The Five Mile Success
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

Pari, Noah, Rishabh:
The three of us went on the morning EVA and drove up to Galileo Road and walked a total of five miles to get to Compass Rock, Candor Chasma, and back to where we parked. It was an exhausting EVA, but totally worth it. We were able to pick up multiple rock samples (a red rock, an igneous rock, and a stone we want to further analyze). We shot the chasma with the drone and got some great footage. We did notice that the battery for the Spirit rover depleted much faster than the others. Then, Noah crushed up some samples we got today, and we are going to spend the day analyzing that tomorrow with Aravind. Rishabh did his daily checkups and got the drone footage. Noah was on comms for the second EVA. We used Opportunity and Spirit.

Avery, Aravind, Kristina:
For Sol 3, we captured more images at the Musk Observatory. Following this, we ate shakshuka for lunch and began processing the robotic observatory FITS files. Soon after, we went on a Camel Ridge EVA to collect samples for our Crew Geologist’s project. We will soon have pizza for dinner and continue data processing. Aravind was comms for EVA 1. We used Opportunity and Curiosity.

Sol Summary – May 16th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-15-2024
Sol: 4
Summary Title: Man Down
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

We started the morning by holding a debrief for our activities today. We had an incident where we suspect the septic fix broke into our water supply.Three of us spent the entire day in the science dome today. A crew member first started by going and checking on the radishes as was informed by another crew member yesterday that there was a little bacterial infection that we suspected. So we figured out that trimming the edges might be beneficial to stop the spread. Three of us trimmed the edges and started exfoliating the samples. We exfoliated the four samples we came in with (fine martian soil, unsorted martian soil, vermicompost, and potting soil). We then analyzed and exfoliated the samples we have collected the last few days (the ones we found by the chasm, compass rock, and marble ritual). We have a few patterns we have seen and are going to be further analyzing these. We did have a little incident where a mortar and pestle broke and a vial cracked as well. We created a sharps bag (double bagged) and will be dropping it off tonight for pickup.Another crew member worked on some personal code development with respect to the drone footage in order to generate 3D models for mapping. They also checked the water levels and attempted to trace back why the usage for the day was nearly double the day prior. The preliminary estimate is that the septic tank cleaning might have used the HAB water supply. Another crew member participated in a group meeting then got straight to coding for the Robotic Observatory images and continued after lunch. Another crew member was feeling ill this morning, however their fever broke.

Sol Summary – May 17th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-17-2024
Sol: 5
Summary Title: Funky Smelling Friday
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

We had two EVAs today, one for drone mapping and the other one to test out the Geiger counter. We got some interesting samples and results by Zubrin’s head and the topological map is being made (in progress). We checked in on the science dome (the radishes, the samples, etc) and looked at the observatory and spent a considerable amount of time trying to reboot and readjust the code since it was giving us a lot of trouble due to computer issues. We also tried to power saw a previous rock we collected but it did not go according to plan. We need to figure out a new plan of action for the igneous rock.

Sol Summary – May 18th

Crew 200 Sol Summary 05-18-2024
Sol: 6
Summary Title: A Bevonaut Birthday
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

We had an EVA today starting at MDRS and heading north up Cow Dung Road. The purpose of this EVA was to get better footage for the program needed to convert the drone footage to a topographical map. Noah and Rishabh went on that and I stayed on comms to monitor their stops and coordinates where the footage was taken. Pooh’s Corner and North Ridge were two stops made. They went around the Galileo Road area as well. Then they came back and Noah, Aravind, and I got right to the material analysis. We have covered most samples and analyzed most except for the ones retrieved yesterday while testing out the Geiger counter and today’s White Mound sample. The White Mound sample showed incredibly transparent spots–I assume we can dig deeper and figure out why these potential bilayers exist (they are a good thing!). Avery and Kristina have continued processing images today from the Robotic Observatory and are continuing to work through issues with the code and downloads for the Musk Observatory. We are also in active communication with Spencer Joseph from Fox News are setting everything up for the news visit. Avery and I created a to do list and a schedule for tomorrow and run that by the rest of the crew.

Sol Summary – May 19th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-19-2024
Sol: 7
Summary Title: A Visitor Arrives on Mars
Author’s Name: Prakruti "Pari" Raghunarayan
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

Today, I got the group assembled to go over today’s plan and we cleaned up the place. We also got our group headshots taken. Then, when Spencer arrived I took him around the area. We started by going to the RAM and he interviewed Rishabh and got to know his project. Then I took him to the science dome and got the three science bros (Me, Noah, and Aravind) to do some demonstrations. I showed him around the greehab and then the observatory. I stayed there and then took him back for lunch. I helped Spencer do some suit adjustments for his own EVA. Then, I was interviewed. We then prepped him for his EVA after lunch and I stayed on comms. The day is now winding down.

I woke up today and started to make the Hab neat and tidy for the journalist, doing my normal chores but a bit extra to make it presentable. The journalist came and we helped him document the first EVA we had today. I helped prepare lunch and then had to go to the science dome to explain my research to the journalist. I want back to the Hab; had lunch; talked to the journalist about a lot of interesting information about Utah. I got suited up for the next EVA and walked up the Hab Ridge with the journalist. Then I had my interview where I explained why I was part of this mission in the first place and what my goals for the future were.

For Sol 7, I prepared for the news to arrive by cleaning up the Hab with everyone. Then, I went on an EVA to collect more samples from Camel Ridge and Marble Ritual. Following this, I prepared the Musk Observatory for filming with Kristina. Lunch was served afterward (Mars Marinara) and one final EVA was done, where I monitored the weather for high wind. We are waiting on additional images to process from the Robotic Observatory, as well as instructions on how to troubleshoot issues at the Musk Observatory.

Today, I participated in the journalism event coordinated by our commander and XO. I controlled comms for the first EVA, where the reporter was able to film a driving excursion. Later in the science dome, I explained the radish project to the camera and assisted the other crew scientists in demonstrating exfoliation of geologic samples. After lunch, I participated in another EVA where the journalist was suited up alongside us and we climbed the hills directly behind the hab. This evening, I checked on the radishes’ condition and watered/trimmed where necessary. They are improving, though I still see no sign of additional bulb growth

Today I went on an EVA to camel ridge in order to get more drone footage and collect rock samples. I also displayed my work for the reporters alongside a tour of the lower deck and RAM.

Today, I woke up and cleaned the hab before the news showed up. Then, I prepped for EVA 1 and made lunch. Then I went to Musk Observatory, where the telescope was malfunctioning, and tried to fix it. After I was interviewed and showed off the astronomy research, we went to lunch. EVA two was scheduled after lunch, and we climbed the hills behind MDRS.

Sol Summary – May 20th

Crew 299 Sol Summary 05-20-2024
Sol: 8
Summary Title: A Monday on Mars (Self Care Edition)
Mission Status: Active
Sol Activity Summary:

For Sol 8, Avery and Pari prepared samples for theScience Dome projects before heading out to the Musk Observatory. Pari, Kristina, and Avery were able to troubleshoot the issues with the Musk Observatory from yesterday. However, though it was sunny, it was also very windy. Because of this, there was not an opportunity to take suitable images. We are still waiting on additional images from the Robotic Observatory to process. Per Peter’s advice, we shortened the imaging exposure time to 240 seconds; before, it was 300 seconds. Avery was able to download AstroImageJ on her laptop and will attempt to use it with Kristina while they continue figuring out their Python script. Image processing will continue tomorrow, and we will hopefully be able to get more images from the Musk Observatory. Next, Pari, Noah and Aravind worked in the science dome to classify samples and what comparisons we must start making to come to meaningful conclusions for our research. We checked on the radishes as well. We are going to plan EVAs to get more samples from areas that are interesting for the UV detector and Geiger counter. Rishabh worked on further developing his path finding algorithm to run on the created models of the surrounding area.

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