Journalist Report – December 7th

Crew 184 Journalist Report

Willie Schumann

07 December 2017

Title                            Exploring Mars

Narrative                  I am sitting in my bed in the habitat and writing this report. And I am glad to get a little rest, because today has been physically challenging and we all are looking forward to our first Martian weekend.

We are getting our groove on with the longer days on Mars and yesterday treated ourselves by watching the infamous comedy puppet flick of “Team America”. Being far away from the home planet makes all these international conflicts seem even more ridiculous. Our crew on Mars is multi-national and we celebrate our differences. On top of that, we established fitting nicknames for all crewmembers. Our space doc is Bones, Crew Engineer Hunt is Big Foot, because he is not only the tallest man on Mars, but also has the biggest shoes. Commander Thomas Horn is the major and our Briton Akash Trivedi the royal on Mars. First Officer Randazzo is Wash, which came upon, when the crew assembled the first Martian workout bicycle and needed a lot of washers to make this item work. I am Smurf and I will not comment on how that happened.

Our water supply is doing great, but the generator still has some hick ups. To save the battery set-up we decided with mission control, to turn it off during the night. As a consequence not all life-supporting backpacks for the EVA were completely charged. But we got just about enough, to match our four crewmembers, who went out on the third leg of Science Officer Trivedis Matryoshka project.

For section three we went to URC North, just west of Galileo Road. It was a completely new sector for us and after we had passed some mountains we entered a giant terrain of mountain chains and valleys all covered by red stone. We had a few problems to find the exact location that was indicated by the scientists on earth via satellite imagery, but eventually found our destination.

Although I still have to carry a lot of equipment in two heavy bags with me I was happy with today’s behavior of the crew, because they remained longer in the respective exploration sites. That gave me enough time to get my pictures and I didn’t have to run around as much as in the previous days. Still, carrying the heavy backpack and holding the camera always still is an incredibly intense workout.

The adjustments we made yesterday to my alien space helmet worked pretty well. Only in the end of the EVA it got a bit foggy, but also the other helmets fogged up a little. I guess, with increased exhaustion our breathing got heavier and the sun was pretty strong, too. I will observe this in the days to come and we might apply some changes on the fly to make the helmet even better.

Talking about helmets. On our way back to the habitat we were facing the direct low sun and it was quite a challenge to navigate. It was quite funny to look at our Space Doctor Sczepaniak to drive at snails pace. As he is also the Security Officer he is an example of safety on Mars.

But we thought about a cool feature for the next generation of Martian helmets. Wouldn’t it be cool to have some sort of shades, a visor or a cap on the helmet top to use, when the crew is facing the full solar power? We will think about it a bit more and maybe come up with a new design in the days to come.

First Officer Randazzo discovered the Baking Automat yesterday and it became a tradition, at least in the last two days ( I have heard in America something is already a tradition, when it happened twice) to have freshly baked warm bread with Nutella right after the EVA. The perfect treat after an intensive ride on Martian turf.

But now I have to seize my reporting, because I am back on cooking command. We are soon running out of the last fresh food supplies we brought from earth. Today I will be using our last tomatoes, together with celery and tuna to mix one of my favorite dishes: Pasta with tomato sauce flavored with a cup of extra love.

Personal Logbook             Today I was very content with our EVA from the perspective of a filmmaker. At today’s exploration spot the crew remained longer at the various sites and left me more time to get my shots.

I also could run three interviews, which is a high in the past week. Vlogs are coming along better, too and the crew feels more and more comfortably with their role. Maybe they will do it automatically in the next days. That would take a load of me.

Today I took less analogue pictures, but I checked regularly the settings and the camera didn’t fell down. So I am confident, that everything went smooth today. If I will keep this rate I will have a nice collection additionally to the digital exposures I have made.

Thank you very much for your help and attention.

Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184

Sol Summary – December 7th

Crew 184 Daily Summary Report  06 Dec 2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for Sol 5

Summary Title:  Back on schedule!

Mission Status:  The past two days have been hectic due to getting in to the swing of things on Mars and the numerous failures we have encountered.  As a consequence, our schedule fell by the wayside and we were largely winging it.  Yesterday we sat down, came to a stable configuration, discussed our lessons learned from our stay so far, and prepared to jump back onto our schedule.

We are still dealing with our power system failure, but today has been a day of focus where our team is efficiently moving from task to task and completing our assigned activities.

We’ve learned today that the low battery SOC we’ve been seeing since our mission started is likely due to a misconfigured battery panel.  Mission Control is seeking help to reprogram it and return our power system to nominal.  In the meantime we will continue to minimize power usage.  Due to SOC ~ 35% it is possible we lose power tonight, our team has prepared for this eventuality and everyone is prepared to handle the cold if necessary, and all team members have light sources on hand overnight.  We have also filled reserve containers with water due the expectation that if power is lost pipes will freeze overnight.

  1. Power system is still smart enough to accept power from generator once SOC starts dropping overnight.  System Nominal!
  2. Power system swaps to generator power.  Generator Failure overnight due to the cold.  Expected loss of power overnight
  3. Power System misconfiguration prevents accepting generator power.  Expected loss of power overnight.

In the meantime, activities!

This morning we have completed Anesthesia training for all crewmembers.  On a long duration mission it is critical crews know how to treat any injuries or other problems that arise, as part of this devising methods of training for crew on a long duration mission is critical.  Our Dr. has devised a mold that simulates arteries / nerves / and veins in a leg that allows crew to practice using ultrasound equipment to identify and isolate specific body parts.  With the training complete crew will be able to complete trial runs where we see how effective this is a training device and how crew performance increases over time.

We also completed our third Matryoshka EVA to SIte #3.  We continue to collect geological samples from our target sites, though this is the first day that our crew is starting to feel the fatigue from EVA, which is hard work!.  Today’s site was exceptionally rocky which gave a very ‘martian’ feel.

Our crew is looking forward to the weekend which we have schedule as ‘light duty’ days to allow ourselves to recuperate from a very busy week!

Sol Activity Summary:

1.      Matryoshka EVA Site #3

2.      Observatory Operation

3.      Anesthesia Training

4.      Reports and general HAB maintenance / checks

5.      Food inventory transfer to excel and submission to

6.      Exercise

7.  Brick Experiment

8.  Power System Monitoring

9.  Receipt and stowage of supply drop

10.  CPR techniques (ME-3)

11.  Media Visit Cancelled

Look Ahead Plan:

  1. Matryoshka EVA Site #4
  2. ANAM Winscat Baseline
  3. Musk Observation
  4. CPR Tecniques
  5. Brick Experiment
  6. Filming and Interviews
  7. Exercise / General HAB Maintenance

Anomalies in work:

1.      HAB Leak from under EVA door continuing (per Mission Control leak is expected and has been present for months, presumed to be from Kitchen piping)

2.  Power System Misconfiguration

Weather: Still cold (below freezing).

Crew Physical Status: All crew in good physical health.

EVA: See above for EVA details

Reports to be filed:



EVA Request



Sol Summary

Support Requested:

1.      Trash pickup from rear airlock (Non Burnable)

2.      Replacement ATV Fuel

Astronomy Report – December 7th

Astronomy Report

Name:   Akash Trivedi    Crew: 184
Date: 7/12/17

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Light

Observation Start Time: 2:45pm

Observation End Time: 4pm

Summary: No interesting features, took a few pics

Objects Viewed: Sun

Problems Encountered: None

Journalist Report – December 6th

Crew 184 Journalist Report

Willie Schumann

06 December 2017

Title                            Climbing Higher

Narrative                  Day number five on Mars and we are still alive and happy to be here. While it continues to be quite chilly in the morning our water pipes didn’t freeze last night. Learning from yesterday we checked the pump first thing after waking up and while the hab tank filled up I looked around and saw into very content faces of relieved Marsonauts. The Generator is still a bit shaky, but our solar panels work great and as long as the sun is shining we should be fine.

We were planning to continue our Matryoshka project today on an EVA and we wanted to start quite early. That’s why we had an early lunch around ten o’clock. As I was assigned with commander Horn and Officers Trivedi and Hunt to join the exploration team I was also free of my daily cooking duties.

That gave me the opportunity to film First Officer Randazzo preparing delicious chicken noodle soup and mashed potatoes. This was particularly interesting for me, because it was a classic case of dried space food. We have milk powder, which we mix up with water. Just imagine the insane amount of milk we would have to fly up into space, matching our demand. It would probably smarter to ship a couple of space cows up to the red planet, but we would need their food… don’t get me started. This milk is essential for our breakfast cereal and it surely made our mashed potatoes creamy like on earth.

We really get our groove on with our EVA preparations. This time we pre-checked our radios and used the time efficiently in the pre-breathing chamber to get our suits and helmets on. Today I tried a new helmet, I had especially made on earth to meet my needs for filming and photographing, as it is important to have my analogue cameras close to my eye for focusing. It is a combination of a newly developed pressure resistant head and a 180° crystal face shield, which looks like a giant scuba mask. There were some issues with it during the EVA, but I will come back to that later.

So we drove out much quicker, then in the last EVA’s and took a rover and two ATV’s. Yesterday I made already some cool stabilized GoPro shots, heading into the Martian landscape. We repeated these shots today and I especially instructed the ATV driver to drive really close to the camera I had applied at the rear of our rover. It worked and they shots looked even more cinematic today.

For the geologists Matryoshka project of Science Officer Trivedi we climbed a few hills at different locations with interesting rock formations. The sun was up and we had some great frames with impressive shadows. My helmet turned a bit foggy, so a lot of my filming was a bit of a blind flight. But with the experience of the last days I managed quite well to deliver good shots. We stumbled about a stone formation, that almost looked like a bone of a giant creature. We could imagine it was a fossil of an early Martian life form. But maybe it is also our earthly expectation we project on Mars.

Being on these hills gave us a great overview on the territory we had covered in the first days we spent on the new planet. It was a quite majestic moment. Unfortunately one of my analogue cameras fell down twice today, opened up and also my settings were temporarily messed up. I will only know in a few weeks, if the pictures came out well. So the mission is to take further pictures, never to stop and to be sure to have enough material to show to the folks on the mother planet.

We came home a bit prematurely and were surprised to detect a little water leak just below our air lock chamber. We analyzed the scene and tried to analyze the source of the leak. Was it melted ice connected with the frozen pipes yesterday?     We later consulted mission control and were assured it is probably our kitchen sink, which shouldn’t bother us too much. And the Martian ground can hold a little bit more water for sure.

Back to the new helmet. Unfortunately it couldn’t be perfected for the Martian environment, just yet. At the moment breathing causes still moisture in the helmet, which makes it hard to see completely through the face shield. With the assistance of Health and Safety Officer Sczepaniak we applied some improvements to the breathing mechanism and first tests were very promising. I will test it in the field tomorrow. There are new perfect solutions, but I am happy, that my team is very good in troubleshooting. After all, a Mars mission is work in progress.

Yesterday night Commander Horn conducted a board game night, which was super fun. Crew Engineer Hunt showed unexpected winning potential, but I was happy with my performance as well. I did pretty well in an American trivia quiz, just my dice throwing skills leave much room for improvement. Evenings like these are very important for crew moral, which is still intact and promising for the days to come. Inline image 1

Personal Logbook             It was a good day. I am less exhausted today, even though it was equally tough on today’s EVA compared to yesterdays. Maybe I am getting used to the Martian life circumstances. Maybe I am evolving quicker than I thought.

I had to speak out on our EVA today to the rest of the crew. In lack of a crew camera for pictures of the geological surface I was constantly asked to take pictures of rocks. I can do that, but most of the time I am busy documenting every move of the crew. Doing these scientific shots can much easier be achieved by an additional camera of the respective specialist officer. Everybody agreed and I was happy, that my role is understood, and so I can continue my storytelling.

As I didn’t take a shaver with me I am growing an impressive beard at the moment. Maybe it will turn Hemingwayish beard in a few days. That would be a first for me, but very appropriate for an adventurer

Thank you very much for your help and attention.

Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184

Sol Summary – December 6th

Crew 184 Daily Summary Report  06 Dec 2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for Sol 5

Summary Title:  Continuing failures, schedule replans, and a successful EVA!

Mission Status:  We are still waiting for a nominal morning!  To fix yesterday’s bandwidth problems we powered off all devices in the HAB, we then connected our ‘internet’ laptop to the modem and watched 100MB of bandwidth disappear in ~ 5 minutes.  We concluded there was a background process of some sort operating on that computer as no known programs were running.  We were able to fix this issue by swapping out this laptop and powering down the fault one.  Communication restored!

We exulted in this victory for approximately 10 minutes, then noticed that our generator had failed again and we were back to a powerdown configuration.  Our SOC was holding at 47%, but it was again clear that we were operating with a degraded power system.  Communication with Mission Control has tentatively identified the problem as due to a ‘summer fuel’ blend which has been noted before, which is separate from the oil leak we observed earlier.  The generator will likely continue to be faulty for the next few days until we can procure a ‘winter’ blend.  Winters on Mars can be tough!.  We are continuing to conserve power wherever possible and using the generator minimally to supplement the solar arrays when required.

We resumed nominal operations this afternoon with two primary activities

We decided to finish up the EVA that we left incomplete yesterday, going to Matryoshka Site #2 which is adjacent to the MDRS HAB.  Our EVA prep procedure continues to be challenging, but we are getting better.  We have allocated the best radios and headsets for EVA (recently delivered!) and placed them adjacent to the EVA prep room.  We have also pre-staged all EVA equipment (boots / gloves / first aid kid / emergency water supply / maps / etc . . . ) in the EVA room to minimize the chance that our prebreathe is interrupted by having to go out to the HAB to get supplies.  We have also started carrying backup radios with us since we have had to cut an EVA short due to radios running out of batteries.  The EVA training continues!

Once outside we successfully found samples from numerous geological strata in our target era and bagged them for later delivery and chemical analysis.  We had some excess time upon returning so we also took some of the PR images requested and will uplink them as part of the journalist report.

When the majority of the crew got back to the habitat we did an observatory training sessions where the crew astronomy gave a tutorial in observatory and telescope operation.  There’s something about being on Mars that gives observatory operations extra gravitas as you are already in the ‘space’ mindset.

Sol Activity Summary:

1.      Matryoshka EVA Site #2

2.      Observatory Training Session (no observing)

3.      HAB Cleaning

4.      Reports and general HAB maintenance / checks

5.      Food inventory transfer to excel

6.      Exercise

Look Ahead Plan:

  1. Matryoshka EVA Site #3
  2. Nerve Block Training
  3. CBS News Visit (unconfirmed – request confirmation on whether media crew is coming from Mission Support)
  4. Filming and Interviews
  5. Solar Observation
  6. Communication Experiment (Time Delay)
  7. CPR Technique Training
  8. Exercise / General HAB Maintenance

Anomalies in work:

1.      HAB Leak from under EVA door (per Mission Control leak is expected and has been present for months, presumed to be from Kitchen piping)

2.      Generator failure

3.      Internet bandwidth problem was resolved today.

Weather: Still cold (below freezing), slightly windy

Crew Physical Status: All crew in good physical health.

EVA: See above for EVA details

Reports to be filed:



EVA Request



Sol Summary

Support Requested:

1.      Trash pickup from rear airlock

2.      Replacement ATV Fuel

3.      Additional dish soap

4.  Confirmation of whether media visits will occur

GreenHab Report – December 6th

GreenHab Report

Trisha Randazzo

December 6, 2017

Environmental control: (Choose which is appropriate and explain further if needed)

Ambient (no heating or/cooling)

Ambient with window/door open

·         Below freezing for most of the day. Waited noon before opening door.

·         Temperature high 44, low 19


·         Functioning nominally, discovered heater comes on at 40 F


·         Not available

Both heating and cooling

·         Nominal

Shade cloth on/off

·         On

Average temperature: (N/A until new sensor is delivered)

·         N/A

Changes to crops:  Note all emergence of seedlings, death of seedlings, etc

·         The same tomato is still doing poorly

·          Everyone else is growing quite well!!

·         Some new seedlings popped up in the two big garden beds

Daily water usage for crops:

·         Complete with no issues

Time(s) of watering for crops:

·         13:00

Morning research observations: (Currently not operational)

·         N/A

Changes to research plants:

·         N/A

Daily watering and amount of water used:

·         2 gallons used for all soils

Aquaponics:  (Currently not operational)

·         N/A

Narrative:  Any other information you want to share

·         N/A

Support/supplies needed:

·         N/A

Operations Report – December 6th

Crew 184 Operations Report  06/12/2017


SOL: 5


Name of person filing report: Josh Hunt

Non-nominal systems: Generator: Generator went off again overnight. Upon inspection of the generator, the fault light on the generator display was red-orange. Mission support was called and they were able to start up the generator again. Source of anomaly is believed to be the fuel itself which is still running on the “summer blend” and needs the “winter blend”. Winter blend has been ordered by Mission Support. Will log the time when the winter blend fuel arrives. Short-term forward plan is to turn off the generator at 10:00 pm tonight and turn beck on before 8:00 am tomorrow. 

                                   Hab Leak: EVA crew identified a water leak at the bottom of the Hab below the airlock porch. Mission support identified that this is a leak from the Hab Kitchen and is expected. Will monitor in case leak increases in severity in the future.


Generator— Hours run: Unknown (See Non Nominal Systems for details)


Solar— Morning SOC Charge was 47% 

             Noon SOC Charge was 100% 

             Evening SOC Charge (6:00pm) was 100%


Diesel – 46% Full


Propane –  72 Percent Volume


Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV) –  2.5 Gallons.


Water (trailer) –  600 gallons


Water (static) –  400 gallons


Trailer to Static Pump used –  No


Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used –  Yes


Water Meter: 25 gallons


Toilet tank emptied: No


ATV’s Used: Yamahas 1 and 2


Oil Checked: Yes. All nominal.


Atv # Fuel Used Gals: Negligible


Tires Status: Yamaha 3 rear right tire is still wobbly. ATV is moved away for the time being and does not affect ops. Mission Control will address at their convenience.


# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 00:30 minutes


Deimos used: Yes


Hours: 00:30 minutes


Beginning charge: 87.4 %


Ending charge: 87.4 %


Currently charging: Yes.




HabCar used? No


Notes and Comments:


Summary of  Hab operations: Generator continues to provide trouble. This is the second night in a row that it has shut down ungracefully. Forward plan tonight is to check SOC at 10:00pm and then shut off the generator. 



Summary of GreenHab operations: All nominal


Summary of Science Dome operations: All nominal other than generator (see Summary of Hab Operations) 


Summary of health and safety issues: All nominal



Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: 

  1. Requesting extra fuel for ATVs. This is the same request previously submitted. We have 2.5 gallons of reserve fuel.
  2. Trash pickup from the rear airlock

Astronomy Report – December 6th

Name:  Thomas Horn

Crew:  184

Date:  12/6/2017

Sky Conditions:  Clear

Wind Conditions:  Light Wind

Observation Start Time:  3:30pm

Observation End Time:  5:00pm

Summary:  Crew Astronomer trained crew on observatory and telescope operations, no actual observing done.

Objects Viewed:  N/A

Problems Encountered:  None

Astronomy Report – December 5th

Name:  Thomas Horn

Crew:  184

Date:  12/5/2017

Sky Conditions:  Clear

Wind Conditions:  Still

Observation Start Time:  8:30am

Observation End Time:  9:30am

Summary:  Did a scan of solar features for unusual activity.  None
observed.  Image of solar surface attached.

Objects Viewed:  Sun

Problems Encountered:  None