Sol Summary – February 14th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 14Feb2022

Sol: 14

Summary Title: Comme un Lundi

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: That title’s French for “like a Monday”. Basically a non sequitur to mean that we’re back in the routine. That’s probably the most noticeable part, to me, of having 3 weeks to commit to a mission: after a while, the rush of setting things up, tinkering with them to have them work, running around because all the procedures aren’t yet hard-wired in your brain, it all comes to an end. And then it’s a lot a quiet, a lot of doing the same things the same way, a lot of just chugging along. Most of us end up having more time for themselves, since things run more smoothly. Makes people antsy and a little bored.

In many ways, that’s the big test for long term missions: just doing things, over and over again, waiting for the next day knowing it’ll be the same. And that’s probably the hardest part, likely harder than actually working hard to fix things. Today we went on EVA, took drone shots, tried a little 3D mapping, watered the plants, 3D printed stuff, recycled water, did improvised cookery, nothing we haven’t done a dozen times before. And we’ll do it again tomorrow, because that’s normal. We’ll only have to do it for a week, but some people have to do it for months. It’s hard to know how long we could do it, but a week is fine.

Look Ahead Plan: Well, um, doing it again tomorrow

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Fair

Crew Physical Status: Fine

EVA: Went nominally

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, Journalist Report, Crew Pictures, Operations Report, HSO Report

Support Requested: None in particular

Sol Summary Report – Feb 17th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 17Feb2022

Sol:17

Summary Title: As the end draws near

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Mixed feelings in the Hab as to the idea of this being the last full day of sim for the mission. Some melancholy at the idea that the adventure will so soon be over, but also some ecstatic at the idea of coming back to the bustling life of modern days. One thing’s shared equally among all of us: a non-rehydrated meal and a night in a big bed can’t be so bad.

The day was marked by one of the final 2 EVAs, focused once again on observing the efficiency and performance improvements that can be brought on by the use of 3D mapping when planning spacewalks. Inside the Hab, people were busy with their human factors tests, with the quietly focused moments intersected by the recordings of our videos designed to reach out to schoolchildren and show them the science we perform and the life we live inside of the station.

Last time I came back out, a pandemic had overwhelmed the globe while we were in the station. This time can’t be that bad.

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow’s gonna be a busy busy day of finishing up these videos, and knocking out the few human factors tests that some of us still haven’t done. Doing Food Inventory and finishing up the Mission Summary will keep everyone else busy before leaving sim at last.

Anomalies in work: None to report

Weather: Fair

Crew Physical Status: All fine

EVA: One, performed nominally

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Photos, EVA Report, EVA Request, HSO Report, Operations Report

Support Requested: None!

Sol Summary – February 16th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 16Feb2022

Sol: 16

Summary Title: Where did the days go

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: The EVA was good, as we went looking for interesting pieces of petrified wood in the Kissing Camels area. I’d never felt as much like a kid, going around in a spacesuit looking for cool rocks; I’d also never felt as much like an old man, my back hurting from getting up and down picking things up. Those EVAs take a toll on you after a while. The views from higher up the ridge were incredible, though the high winds kicking up made coming back feel good, further satisfied by us meeting our objectives earlier than expected.

The afternoon felt like everything and nothing happened at the same time. More of the former, in the end, as after lunch many of us were busy in all the different parts of the station, recording videos about our experiments for our outreach programs back in Toulouse. Some others were typing up reports and summarizing the mission, while the rest were getting some well-deserved rest.

Look Ahead Plan: We’re looking at two days of intensive human factors tests before the end of the rotation, and between this and the videos we need to finish up, it’s going to be a very busy end of the mission!

Anomalies in work: None to report

Weather: Cloudy and windy.

Crew Physical Status: Member that had neck pain yesterday had the pain worsen overnight, but ibuprofen fixed it completely and we’re good with calling the whole thing a miracle of science.

EVA: One, performed nominally

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Pictures, EVA Report, EVA Request, HSO Report, Operations Report

Support Requested: None

Crew 240 Sol Summary February 15th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 15Feb2022

Sol:15

Summary Title: Day in, day out

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Another EVA took place to Candor Chasma, leading to some very interesting footage and data recovered from the drone. We continued work around all the usual things we work on: Human Factors, Botanics, 3D Printing, Atmospheric Experiments, as well as recording some footage for later on in our outreach missions with young people in the Toulouse area. It’s scary, the way days start to blend together once we all get things into gear – some days are blink-and-you-miss-it. Let’s make those last few ones count!

Look Ahead Plan: Another day of a lot of the same!

Anomalies in work: None in particular

Weather: Fair

Crew Physical Status: Fine. One member still hesitant to go on EVA because of some neck pain, hoping it will stay good for the next day.

EVA: One, took place nominally

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Journalist Report, Pictures, HSO Report, Operations Report, EVA Report, EVA Request

Support Requested: Would it be ok if we put in the hesitating crewmember on the EVA Request for tomorrow, and give advance warning in the morning if their condition gets a bit worse and they can’t participate anymore? If it’s better to just have it all ready as early as possible we can just have a 3 person EVA, that’s no issue.

Sol Summary

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 13Feb2022

Sol: 13

Summary Title: Quiet Sundays

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Compared to last Sunday, this one was definitely more of a calm one. We kept busy, yes – an EVA was done to set up atmospheric experiments that weren’t ready to go out at the start of the mission, and the usual things that have to be done on the daily were managed quite simply – but we all got some rest. I made a mess of the kitchen, but one very much worth it – I’ve gotten a hell of a lot closer to a great Martian Burger than I did last time. The afternoon was spent on playing games, getting a little work done, and before we knew it we had to go hurry back to write our reports.

Look Ahead Plan: Getting back into that final week in full gear.

Anomalies in work: None to be noticed

Weather: Fair

Crew Physical Status: All is well

EVA: One performed quickly and efficiently

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, Journalist Report, Photos, HSO Report, Operations Report, Science Report

Support Requested: None in particular

Sol Summary Report – February 12th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 12Feb2022

Sol:12

Summary Title: Not so busy weekend

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: While a team of three made their way to the Special Region in order to take the drone out for a spin (among other things to accomplish during the EVA), the rest of the crew was busy in the Hab and the RAM, some trying different setups for water recycling implements, others working on 3D prints and wiring for another atmospheric experiment.

The afternoon felt calm, with most of the crew taking some time, each at their own moment, to rest from the week and the numerous EVAs performed during those past days. Work was still performed for those who needed things done, and the fact of the matter is that days are too few to be spent idly, so there will be another EVA tomorrow to get more work done, and so on and so forth. But for now, it’s going to be more about group games and relaxation exercises.

Look Ahead Plan: Setting up additional atmospheric experiments tomorrow, making a nice big meal for Sunday lunch.

Anomalies in work: None to report.

Weather: Fair

Crew Physical Status: All is well

EVA: One, performed nominally

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, Journalist Report, Crew Pictures, HSO Report, Operations Report, Astronomy Report,

Support Requested: None in particular

Sol Summary – February 11th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 11Feb2022

Sol: 11

Summary Title: Tirelessness

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Had this been a standard, two-week rotation like the one I did the first time I was at MDRS, today would basically be the time for a farewell to sim, and for planning for getting back onto good old Earth. Seen from this angle, it’s clear that I want to try to get as much done in these few remaining days as I can, while wrestling with the fatigue of the past two weeks.

There’s still a lot to work on on the atmospheric experiment side – some instruments had issues from the trip, and fixing them took a while, but it’s looking like we’ll get at least a solid week of data before handing them over to the next crew, also from Supaero. And there’s still some places to get the drones running on, and 3D maps to be made.

Meanwhile, we went to the Special Region today – far further North than I did two years ago, and there we saw a diversity of landscapes and terrain that will probably prove fascinating on Pierre’s drone shots, and, if he manages to process them as well, 3D maps. The afternoon was spent finishing up on the human research experiments, and while we’re looking forward to a slightly busy weekend, it’ll still be a time of calm in comparison.

Look Ahead Plan: Finishing up work on the atmospheric experiments we still haven’t installed yet, catching a little rest.

Anomalies in work: None to report

Weather: Shockingly warm

Crew Physical Status: All are well

EVA: One, carried out nominally

Reports to be filed: Astronomy Report, Sol Summary, HSO Report, Operations Report, Journalist Report, Crew Pictures, EVA Request, EVA Report

Support Requested: None in particular.

Sol Summary – Feb 10th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 10Feb2022

Sol: 10

Summary Title: Pretty well grounded

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: Another day, another EVA to North Ridge, another “Hey Clément, see if you can get some pictures of us up there from the Hab!”. Talk about a picturesque place – while every picture out of the window looks awesome, I probably have to find another photographic endeavour. Besides, we’ve gotten through a first thorough test of how well our crewmembers handle the 3D maps our drones got.

Later on in the Hab, we’ve been looking at the busy part of the mission regarding our human science research, with two very time-intensive, and a little tiring, experiments scheduled on the same two days for the first time. That means everyone’s always doing something, and you can tell from the stillness in the Upper Deck.

Look Ahead Plan: Waiting expectantly for those batteries of questionnaires and computer tests to be over for the week tomorrow night. Trying to get in a big EVA to the Special Region.

Anomalies in work: Another spacesuit (2nd version) has had some issues, with the crewmember using it having little ventilation soon after leaving on EVA (no matter how they set it on the dial). Trying to find a definitive reason for it, but it just looks like the batteries are very tired from use in cold weather, and perhaps age.

Weather: Warm

Crew Physical Status: All fine

EVA: One, nominal besides battery issues.

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, HSO Report, Operations Report, Journalist Report, Crew Pictures, Astronomy Report

Support Requested: We just wanted to make sure when water would be replenished. We should be right on the money with our water management if it comes on Saturday, Sunday should be fine too.

Sol Summary – February 9th

Crew 240 Sol Summary Report 09Feb2022

Sol: 9

Summary Title: Into the thick of it

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: In what I hope will remain the one and only “Horror Episode” report, it’s a necessity to admit that today has been more memorable from its somewhat disgusting than for the other successes it’s seen, for the many there’s been.

I feel the need to spare you most of the events and stick to their conclusions. I’d started a rather drawn out and creatively narrated retelling of the awful things we’ve had to do today, after which I thought to myself “Clément, this is a terrible idea”. So to keep to the results: the toilet’s tank likely has some impacted material that’s stuck in there. Warm water and numerous flushes out have not got us far out of it, so that’s not over. Regarding the rodent situation, everything has been fixed.

On to the successes: the 3D maps made by Pierre have generated some great new possibilities for EVA prevision. The accuracy of these things astounds me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, in some years, every crew had a lightweight drone capable of making 3D maps and finding routes automatically before every EVA.

Look Ahead Plan: Continuing 3D Map testing tomorrow, pursuing work.

Anomalies in work: Some rodent-based issues already worked out with the Station Director and Assistant Director. Spacesuit issues detailed in Operations Report.

Weather: Is it still February?! (very warm)

Crew Physical Status: A tiny bit grossed out but overall fine

EVA: One done, carried out nominally.

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, HSO Report, Operations Report, Journalist Report, Crew Pictures

Support Requested: As the diagnostics of the spacesuit appear to be faulty batteries, and as the backups in the EVA Room are also marked as dead, we’re probably going to need some more.

Crew 240 Sol Summary February 8th

Crew 240 Sol Summary

Sol: 8

Summary Title: Business is bloomin’

Author’s name: Clément Plagne

Mission Status: Nominal

Sol Activity Summary: We were lucky enough to go down to see the Moon(s) this morning on EVA, on a warm and pleasant morning, and the rainbow of colors we witnessed filled our minds, but not our stomachs, which fortunately were quickly filled by the nutritious meal cooked up by the crew members who were still in the Hab while we were out.

Under the warm microclimate of the GreenHab, a colony of spirulina algae have started to grow. In the meantime, Julie and I recorded a piece of audio for the outreach work we do in local schools around Toulouse. In all, work is going well.

Look Ahead Plan: Giving another shot to the 3D mapping-based EVAs, doing 3D prints for necessary pieces of experiments.

Anomalies in work: Spacesuit batteries were abnormally low, and François has begun looking into it as this led to very low output of the ventilation.

Weather: Warm

Crew Physical Status: All fine

EVA: One, nominal besides the aforementioned spacesuit issues

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, EVA Report, EVA Request, HSO Report, Operations Report, Journalist Report, Pictures

Support Requested: None besides the aforementioned.