Sol Summary – January 4th

Crew 186 Sol 4 Summary Report 04JAN2018

Sol 4

Summary Title: The Moons of Mars and the Greens of Earth

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: All nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Geologically, Earth’s moon has very little in common with Mars. The geological processes that have shaped the surface of our Moon (vulcanism and impacts) are very different than the geological processes that have shaped the surface of Mars (water and wind). But sitting in an intriguing middle ground are Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos. By most metrics, Mars’ moons are fairly typical asteroids, but their proximity to Mars has caused their surfaces to become blanketed in Martian material kicked up by asteroid strikes and swept up by the moons as they snowplow through the space surrounding the planet. As three members of our crew have done thesis level work on how hard it is to land on Mars, we are acutely aware that the first Mars sample return mission may not sample Mars at all, but rather, the impact debris that Mars has deposited onto its moons. In this theme, today a team composed of Cesare, Melanie, Sam and Mark conducted an EVA to the region 5 km North West of the Hab known as “The Moons” (Yellow Moon, Beige Moon, Gray Moon and White Moon). Last night, Cesare gave the entire crew a seminar on the geology of the surrounding area so we could be on the lookout for interesting features on geology EVAs like this one.

We had originally budgeted time for three stops in the region for spectral measurements and sample collection, but the process of strapping the expensive and delicate equipment to our ATVs meant our estimates were incorrect, and we reached our turnaround time after only sampling one. So we must add this site to the increasingly long list of sites that will get a follow-up in a later EVA. Far more science to be done than scientists to do it will be part of a real mission to Mars, but it doesn’t make that constraint any easier to accept!

When the EVA team returned, they were greeted by the sight of the NorCal Mars Society rover wheeling out to meet their ATVs. The rover was successfully navigated for three complete circuits of the campus while the team was out. The ideal Mars exploration mission will utilize robotic resources of every kind (orbital, airborne, and surface) and it’s good to have at least one of those joining our mission.

This evening, Mark took us on a tour of GreenHab where the microgreens he planted 2 days ago are already starting to sprout. Flowers from GreenHab already adorn our dinner table, and near the end of our mission, we expect GreenHab’s food will too.

Look Ahead Plan: In an attempt to check off our science goals more rapidly, tomorrow’s EVA will be a hybrid geology and navigation EVA along the southern end of Cow Dung Rd. The geology team will explore sites south of kissing camel ridge, and drop off the navigation team to attempt a walk back under limited visibility conditions with the navigation beacon.

Anomalies in work: ATV 300 wouldn’t start this morning. We tried starting it again after returning from EVA, after it had been sitting in the sun for 2 hours, and it started up as expected. It was probably just too cold.

Weather: 0C, Winds Calm, Visibility 10 miles, Barometer 30.30 inHg

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: The Moons, 2.5 hours, geological sampling and spectra of clays in the region

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Operations Report, GreenHab Report, Science Report (Geology), Journalist Report w. Photo of the Day, EVA Report,EVA Request

Support Requested: We are exceeding our maximum daily water consumption target of 40 gal/sol as GreenHab operations ramp up, and are implementing tighter controls on water use to allow GreenHab as much water as possible. We are considering implementing a “3 bin” dishwashing system, any other recommendations on effective water saving strategies would be welcome.

Sol Summary Report – January 3rd

Crew 186 Sol 03 Summary Report 03JAN2018

Sol 03

Summary Title: Where No One Has Gone Before But Many Will Soon

Author’s name: Max Fagin (Commander)

Mission Status: Firmly into the routine of exploring Mars, even though there is nothing routine about it!

Sol Activity Summary: We began with a marathon 4.5 hour EVA to a previously unexplored region near Maxwell Montes, leading to a remarkable box canyon with perfectly vertical stratified layers (see our Photo of the day). On the way back, we split up and successfully tested the navigation beacon meant to help a lost astronaut find their way back to the hab in poor visibility conditions. We also had our first successful use of the Hanksville Repeater “communication satellite” on EVA to bridge some of the regions where direct communication between the Hab and the EVA team was otherwise not possible. This was the first EVA to use all exo-suits, and they performed well beyond expectations (see EVA report). The evening discussion was occupied by important philosophical issues like whether ‘Dune” was best described as “Game of Thrones in Space” or if Game of Thrones was better described as “Dune in the Middle Ages.” Today is GreenHab Officer Mark’s birthday! Celebrations are planned for tonight to commemorate his becoming a preteen (in Mars years anyway).

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow is a medium length Geology EVA to White Moon, Beach Moon and Yellow Moon to the north of the hab. The Phoenix rover will also be put to work around the campus.

Anomalies in work: Kinked fuel line running from the generator and apparent leak from under the Hab (see support requested and Operations report)

Weather: 0C, Wind calm, Visibility 10 miles, Barometer 30.31 inHg

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: North East of Maxwell Montes, 4.5 hours, photographic survey and geological sampling

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA #3 Report, EVA #4 Request, EVA #3 Request (see Commander’s note)

Support Requested: We discovered a kinked fuel line by the generator and an apparent water leak coming from under the hab near the EVA airlock porch. Photos are attached to the operations report, please advise if these need repair.

*****

Commanders Note: There was a communication slip on our end last night. We realized after we got back from EVA #3 today that the sol summary indicated the EVA #3 request was ready, but that it never actually got transmitted, nor did it get approved. We did discuss the intended target with Shannon in the Sol summary email thread, and clarified our intended target, but the actual EVA #3 request did not get submitted, nor was its absences noted by any of us until this evening. EVA #3 took place today as we intended, but without the EVA #3 request having been submitted, we realize mission control had no written record of our intentions, a potentially hazardous situation. We are forwarding the (now obsolete) EVA #3 request which we did not submit from last night, along with a summary of EVA #3, and a request for tomorrows EVA #4. We’re sorry it took us 24 hours to notice the omission.

Sol Summary Report – January 2nd

Crew 186 Sol 2 Summary Report 02JAN2018

Sol 2

Summary Title: Elusive Blueberries and Baby Radishes

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: All nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Our second day on Mars was opened with the slow-motion electrical chords of Vangelis theme from Chariots of Fire. After our morning Yoga, the second EVA team composed of Kshitij, Cesare, Mark, and Sam departed the airlock to search and sample the hematite blueberry formations at Goldstone Rd. that had eluded the first EVA team. While they were out, the remaining crew members caught up on Hab tasks, including Melanie dealing with a finicky battery charger, and Max watering our brand new Radish microgreens that Mark has spent the last few days preparing GreenHab for. The EVA team had a very successful (if exhausting) long duration EVA, stopping twice under Cesare’s guidance to sample interesting geological features. The hematite blueberries, alas, continued to evade us. Shannon: We formally request a hint.

The connection to the Hanksville radio repeater we had hoped to use today for long-range communication wasn’t ready, so communications were lost between the EVA and Hab almost as soon as they rounded the corner, but the connection was fixed by the time they had returned, and we intend to use it to keep in touch on tomorrow’s EVA. The evening finished with Sam beginning his microbe sampling swabs around the hab, and an engineering EVA to move rover supplies from the RAM, along with a brand new load of soil for GreenHab that a friendly supply shuttle dropped right on our doorstep.

Our crew has developed a new tradition which we have dubbed “The Idiot Box”. It is a box which we leave just outside the airlock all day, into which we put all the equipment which we will feel like an idiot for forgetting on our next EVA. That missing airlock fastener? That thermal probe? That EVA medical kit? Ask any one of us about any of these pieces of equipment and we will all give you the same answer: “Put it in the Idiot Box.”

Look Ahead Plan: Our first non-geology EVA will take place tomorrow, with the three goals of photographing the as yet unvisited Maxwell Montes, testing our new long-range communications system with the Hanksville repeater, and testing the direction radio beacon for navigation.

Anomalies in work: The new generator battery does not seem to be charging as expected

Weather: 0C, Winds W at 3MPH, Humidity 43%

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Greenstone Rd take 2, 3.25 hrs, geological sampling for spectral analysis

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Report, EVA Request, Geology Report

Support Requested: The newer of the two generator batteries that we have on hand is not charging as expected. This may simply be due to it being relatively unused (see Operations report for details), but we aren’t sure. We can continue on the one battery for now, but would appreciate advice or sources on breaking in a new battery.

Sol Summary – January 1st

Crew 186 Sol 1 Summary Report 01012018

Sol 1

Summary Title: New Year New Planet

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: All nominal

Sol Activity Summary: After staying up until midnight last night to bid farewell to 2017, we awoke at 7:30AM to the music of the Launch Theme from Apollo 13. Kshitij led us in a Yoga routine that will become a daily occurrence for the rest of the mission. We had planned to finish our official crew portraits the previous evening, but sunset intervened, so we quickly donned the EVA suits this morning and stepped outside to capture our official crew portraits. On display were the flags of Purdue (our Alma Mater), our home countries, and the Tricolor-RGB of our new home planet.

Breakfast was crepes smothered with Nutella and maple syrup, prepared by Justin and Mark. Over breakfast, we established the rules of our simulation, and what was expected of each of us to maintain its fidelity. With 15 minutes left until noon (when we would officially enter simulation), we all took the time to pay one last visit to the outside. At noon, we officially entered our simulation and began preparation for our first EVA: A geological sampling mission to the Greenstone Rd. area. Entering simulation late meant we had to return to the hab after only collecting one of the targeted 3 samples, but we will return tomorrow to complete it. Lunch was leftovers from last night’s new year’s feast (it was good enough to enjoy twice), followed by a dinner and witnessing a marvelous supermoon rise. Lunar astronomy on the supermoon is planned for tonight, as the weather looks clear.

We are not the only ones who are feeling the Martian vibe. Even the habitat seems to be feeling it. For example, the generator’s 60Hz AC power seems to be running at ~61.6 Hz for some unknown reason. This is a harmless anomaly, but it means any appliance that gets its clock cycle from the AC power line will run 2.8% fast, accumulating an extra ~38 minutes per day. In other words, due to a technical error, our clocks are actually keeping within 0.2% of Martian time, and only the battery power analog clock on the wall is keeping Earth time… We have no intention of fixing this.

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow’s EVA will target the two sample sites we were not able to visit today. Will also experiment with the use of the Hanksville repeater (aka, communications satellite) and our ham radio to avoid comm dropouts between EVA team and MDRS. Thank you comm for the warning this morning about the solar storm! We will deploy our own telescope tonight and plan for some solar astronomy tomorrow morning.

Anomalies in work: EVA Airlock window was installed at the end of the EVA, but is currently secured with zip ties. Looking for a better way.

Weather: Temperature: 6C, Mostly clear, Winds calm, Humidity 39%, Barometer 30.27 inHg

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Greenstone Rd, 1.0 hrs, geological sampling for spectral analysis

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Report, Science Report (Geology)

Support Requested:

1) We installed a new EVA airlock window at the end of today’s EVA. Are there any old photos of the EVA airlock window we can use for reference to see how it is supposed to be secured? It is currently zip tied in place, which is adequate, but not pretty.

2) Can Mission Support please change the email of Crew Engineer Melanie Grande to melgrande2@gmail.com we think this will solve some formatting anomalies with the operation report.

Sol Summary – December 31st

Crew 186 Sol 0 Summary Report 31DEC2017

Sol 0

Summary Title: Happy Arbitrary Orbital Maker!

Author’s name: Max Fagin

Mission Status: All crew members ready and eager to ring in the new Earth year on Mars.

Sol Activity Summary: Today’s non-sim sol began with the handoff from Crew 185 to 186. We swapped staterooms, car keys, and mission patches and bid each other farewell. We then completed two training sessions with Shannon on hab operations and EVA activities, and took a practice non-sim EVA.

We are planning to enter sim at 10AM tomorrow morning, after completing some crew portraits we were unable to complete today before sunset. Tonight, we will finish our mission summary, take one final trip into town for some last minute items, and celebrate the new year with a bonfire. All martians welcome (and their dogs)!

Look Ahead Plan: Complete crew portraits at sunrise tomorrow morning, enter sim, and take first geology EVA to Greenstone Rd. Continue unpacking equipment around the hab.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Partly cloudy, Temperature 1C, winds calm, Humidity 64%

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: All crew members took a non-sim EVA south of the Hab to practice driving and hiking in full gear. We practiced proper hill climbing/descending technique, and breath management to minimize fogging.

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Request

Support Requested: Awaiting a new template for the EVA report and EVA request.

Note: We have composed a shared document with all the report templates we have received in order to speed up report composition and minimize transmission errors. One consequence of this is that it will take a few transmission to make sure the templates have been copied correctly. If there are any errors in the report format (anything as small as missing line breaks), please let us know. We update the common document to reflect the changes.

Sol Summary – December 29th

Crew 185 Sol Summary Report 29 Dec 2017

Sol 11

Last Day of Sim

David Murray

Mission Status: Everything is going well

Sol Activity Summary: We woke up at 0800, ate breakfast and got ready for the EVA. At 1034, the EVA crew entered the airlock and returned at 1218. While the EVA crew was gone, Arno, Tibo, and I cleaned the hab and the greenhab. Upon return we ate lunch, packed up our belongings, and continued cleaning. Later we took inventory of the remaining food and prepared MDRS for the next crew.

Look Ahead Plan: Record our answers to questions from children around the world

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny, warm

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Exploration, sample collection

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, Sol Summary, EVA report

Support Requested: None

Sol Summary – December 28th

Sol 10

Long EVA

David Murray

Mission Status: Everything is going well

Sol Activity Summary: We woke up at 0800, had breakfast, and switched off the generator. Today, the EVA crew got a chance to gain experience on the ATV’s and to explore Lith Canyon. Then, they completed the navigation exercise and returned to the hab. After lunch, I planted Moringa oleifera seeds in the greenhab and watered the plants, Tibo and Ilaria participated in John’s nerve block experience, and Arno checked our state of charge. The crew plans to eat dinner and finish the rest of the movie that we started last night before going to bed.

Look Ahead Plan: Record our answers to questions from children around the world

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny, warm

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Exploration, sample collection

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Request, Sol Summary, EVA report

Support Requested: None

Sol Summary – December 27th

Sol 9

Ninth Day on Mars

David Murray

Mission Status: Everything is going well

Sol Activity Summary: The crew checked the generator, ate breakfast, and prepared for EVA. The EVA crew returned to the airlock to address complications with the radios. Once that was taken care of we completed the next half of the exercise. While we were finishing our EVA, we noticed a scratch in the helmet. We finished our task before returning to the airlock. After EVA, we completed our list of group tasks, wrote reports, and had dinner.

Look Ahead Plan: Record our answers to questions from children around the world

Anomalies in work: Scratch noticed on helmet during EVA

Weather: Sunny

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: Navigation

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Request, Sol Summary, EVA report

Support Requested: None

Sol Summary – December 25th

Sol 7

Merry Christmas!

David Murray

Mission Status: The crew is clean and well fed.

Sol Activity Summary: In the spirit of Christmas, Crew 185 rewarded ourselves with an extra hour of sleep and our first showers of the simulation. After a light breakfast, Arno and Ilaria left the hab to conduct an engineering check. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew prepared Christmas dinner, cleaned, and readied the hab to accommodate our guests. Shannon and her daughter arrived to share Christmas dinner with us. We had a first-rate feast of prime rib, candied yams, veggies, biscuits, soup, and baked potatoes. As much as we enjoyed the meal, we all miss our loved ones and wish that we were able to spend this holiday season with them. On behalf of Crew 185, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Look Ahead Plan: The EVA for tomorrow focuses on GPS and drone control functionality in the X-1 spacesuit.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny

Crew Physical Status: Healthy, clean, and well fed

EVA: X-1 tests: Drone Control & GPS

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Request, Sol Summary

Support Requested: None

Sol Summary – December 23rd

Crew 185 Sol Summary Report 23 Dec 2017

Sol 5

Beginning of a Navigation Exercise

David Murray

Mission Status: We had slight generator problems but everything is under control and we still have charge.

Sol Activity Summary: The crew ate breakfast and disbanded for individual tasks before meeting back up to do the EVA prep. Ilaria, John, and Arno made up the EVA crew today. They placed objects that the next EVA crew will have to locate in the field based on instructions from CapComm. After the EVA Arno and I participated in John’s medical training.

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow we’re planning to do a split EVA to test the X-1 and to locate the items that today’s EVA crew put in the field.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Sunny

Crew Physical Status: Healthy

EVA: 3 person EVA to use ATV’s and hide objects for a navigation study.

Reports to be filed: Journalist Report, Greenhab Report, EVA Request, EVA Report, Sol Summary

Support Requested: None