MDRS Crew 188 Journalist Report 31/01/2018
Human Factors: From Habitability to Humanity
SOL-3 Author’s name: Dr. Sarah Jane Pell
Yesterday felt different. It began after the first six hours of uninterrupted sleep in nearly one Earth week. We convened at 8am for breakfast with a newfound clarity and resolve to self-organize, and prioritize the reasons that we came to MDRS. We structured the day to take steps towards realizing the potentials for our individual and collaborative research objectives. I couldn’t claim that we have found our groove, or fallen into a routine, but today there was a noticeable shift in momentum and perspective from the inner to the outer reaches of the MRSD experience, and back again.
In the morning, Dr. Ryan Kobrick, Tatsunari Tomiyama and Zac Trolley went on EVA-3 to survey the terrain: to geo-locate waypoints and calibrate the GPS with the existing Map coordinates, and scout for suitable research sites. Julia De Mariners and Dr. Sarah Jane Pell set to work on advancing Sci-Art collaboration for the Super Blue Moon Total Eclipse this evening, and Renee Garifi commanded the Hab Comms.
After lunch, the team gathered in the Habitat communal space for a Human Factors research activity designed by Crew HSO Tatsunari Tomiyama. The exercise included 6 open questions for the group relating our MDRS experience of: Communication, Water, Hygiene, WiFi, Crew Roles, and Research. After discussion we provided a subjective score between: 1 – 5 (negative – positive). Our responses were recorded in an open-format discussion and documented via video. The exercise was incredibly valuable and insightful; opening us up to a collective yet nuanced personal experience of the simulation thus far. Well, that is, the exercise helped facilitate learning and a bonding experience for the participants, but the principal investigator did not participate or share with us his responses to these topics. He felt that he must place himself at a distance from the group. It struck me as an odd tension: playing the role of the ‘official observer’ and the HSO role of the analogue ‘astronaut crew’. Nonetheless, the reality of this dual-responsibility resonates with the anticipated demands of future Mars crews. I think back to Tomiyama’s choice of animal totem for life on Mars: the domestic cat, he said, leading to his crew call sign Tom Cat. We see him at meals times but we don’t get to know him through this deliberate displacement. It will be interesting to see how he maps how this affects the crew dynamics, and when he chooses to step in, and step out, of collective activities. We meet again next week, and at the end of the simulation to discuss the shift in our experience of these themes.
At the conclusion of the HSO activity, the crew leaped into action to workshop on the engineering challenge of supporting the artist-in-residence and astronomer’s hope to live stream the Total Lunar Eclipse. Trolley, Kobrick, and De Marinares worked with Pell on finding a suitable location to track the event, a systems installation supporting the camera and the telescope array, creative configuration and Kobrick, Garifi and De Marinares commenced liaison with the MDRS Director, Mission Control, Astronomy and IT support for the infrastructural help needed to execute on the grand idea. Once things were underway, De Marinares began scoping out her own research projects, and how they might be achieved, and balanced with her Green House responsibilities. Engineer Trolley commenced a complete evaluation and status report of all vital systems to bring clarity to the web of interdependency and make-shift, and Commander Kobrick problem-solved from one system to another, while making sure he could map out pathways to support his own research, noting he still had boxes to unpack, necessary for concurrent research demands to be met.
As the sun set, our collective energies shifted to reflect on the big picture: as the reality of the domestic demands from the system maintenance, and interruptions sheds light on the limited time available to us, and challenges arising from prior misconceptions and expectations of autonomy and agency, we chose to focus on what we are here to achieve, and how we may best serve the MDRS community with our commitment and contribution.
It was the perfect evening for a Total Lunar Eclipse. The Crew went to sleep early while the Artist-in-Residence stayed up until 4:40am to attempt a live stream of the phenomena in 4K Panorama Video. As the red halo began a partial eclipse, the crew emerged with cameras, telescopes, slippers and scarves to brace the cold and look to the elliptical glow. At once incredibly beautiful, and infinitely intriguing still. We went to sleep pondering over the view from Mars… would we see an Eclipse of Phobos and what would it be like? I imagine that it would conjure universal feelings that we would share with our Earthly ancestors.
Crew 188 Sol 3 Astronomy Report 31JAN2018
Name: Julia DeMarines
Date: January 31, 2016 (Sol 03)
Sky Conditions: Mildly cloudy
Wind Conditions: None
Observation Start Time: 05:00
Observation End Time: 06:30
Summary: Crew 188 enjoyed watching the Super Blue Blood Moon before it slipped over the horizon.
Objects Viewed: Moon
Equipment Used: Celestron Celestar 8
Problems Encountered: Did not attempt to track the moon so just manually fixed the drift of the moon.
Crew 188: Zac Trolley
There is a request by the Hab Director for an electrician to investigate a malfunctioning power plug at her residence.
The generator shut it’s self off at 4am, the assumed fault was the 12 Volt Battery running low. Luckily the crew was up for the lunar eclipse, and were able to swap the batteries out. The second battery lasted less than 12 hours.
A repair crew came and replaces the alternator on the generator. The oil, fuel, and air filters were also changed. The battery is charging at 14V, so I have high confidence that the issue is solved.
• Generator (hours run): 6.1h
• Generator turned off: 10:33 @ SOC 100%
• Generator turned on: 14:00 @SOC 100%
• Diesel: 79%
• Propane: 62%
• Ethanol Free Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV): 8 Gallons
• Water (trailer): 0 Gallons
• Water (static): 350 Gallons
• Trailer to Static Pump used: No
• Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used: Yes
• Meter @ 20:01 130581.4
• Water Used today: 30.5 Gal
• Toilet tank emptied: No
• ATVs were not used today.
• ATVs Used: None
• Oil Added: None
• ATV Fuel Used: None
The Hab Director mentioned that the Rovers required an extension cord that is shorter than 25 feet. We estimate the cords being used now are 50 foot cables. I was able to find a 25 foot extension cable, meaning we could charge one rover at time based on the above specifications. Can we have the appropriate extension cables sent to the Hab in order to charge the Rovers?
Deimos rover used: No
• Hours: 106.9h (Unknown, Director used Rover today, do not have updated numbers)
Spirit rover used: No
• Hours: 17.5h
Opportunity rover used: No
• Hours: 13.5h
Curiosity rover used: No
• Hours: 9.3h
HabCar: Not used
Summary of internet: We purchased the 75 Gig internet token for data in order to support the mission. It is unclear to the crew how the internet tokens operate, and we will monitor the system to ensure we are using is correctly.
Summary of suits and radios: All nominal
Summary of Hab operations: All nominal
Summary of EVA operations: We are still brainstorming ways to combat the helmet fog.
Summary of GreenHab operations: The temperature gauge display has some non-functional LCD areas, a new one has been ordered.
Summary of Science Dome operations: The science dome is awaiting a portable heater as per the Hab Director.
Summary of RAM operations: Not Operational.
Summary of health and safety issues: There was a report of a brief propane smell today, still awaiting the propane detector to rule out off gassing in the Hab.
Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: All nominal
Crew 188 Sol 3 Summary Report 31JAN2018
Summary Title: Winding down before ramping up
Author’s name: Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D., MDRS Crew 188 Commander Mission Status: All nominal
Sol Activity Summary:
Sol 2 merged into Sol 3 with the astronomical Super Blue Blood Moon event! The crew had varying levels of sleep hours leading into the early morning event. As you may have seen from earlier reports this was a very rare event, and the show met all expectations. All crew members were able to watch the Moon slowly disappear behind Earth’s shadow leaving a red glowing Moon. Looking at the red Moon created nice mental links to our Martian experience and submersion and let us ponder what it would be like to watch a dual-lunar event on Mars. Because of the rare event, today was dedicated to ramping up our science projects and resting for future EVAs. Personally I worked on my EVA metric study with the help of Tat to edit and name waypoints and record key data into a master spreadsheet. I also recorded a video podcast to post publicly (hopefully soon) interviewing Dr. Sarah Jane Pell. I am sure my students will find it very interesting and I’m expecting their follow up questions will be great! Renee and Zac started working on setting up the prototype of NASA Kennedy Space Center’s VEGGIE OASYS experiment in the Green Hab. It is great that the crew gets to work on an experiment that may one day be used on Mars, and super cool that it is already on the International Space Station. Thank you Dr. Luke Roberson for being the quarterback of this project at NASA KSC! Julia and Zac were also working in the Green Hab today, optimizing the layout and tending to the plants. Tat started a human factors analysis for the MDRS operational structure. This study could lead to consolidated task management and more efficient processes. The lighter day allowed the crew to sync files and prepare to share their experience. Several crewmembers sewed their mission patches onto their flight suits today, preparing to explore in style.
Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D.
MDRS Crew 188 Commander
Look Ahead Plan:
In the morning three crew members will head East to Phobos peak to examine human performance and capture 360 footage in 8k. The afternoon EVA will scout more roads and re-visit a previous site. The crew will be fairly busy with these two EVAs, but other projects will continue to unfold.
Anomalies in work:
MDRS Director is coordinating power system updates with contractors. There was a site visit today.
Robotic observatory currently not functional. MDRS Astronomy lead working problem.
The weather was clear all day and provided great views out the surrounding terrain.
Crew Physical Status:
Hydration and altitude adjustment seems to be going well. Some minor skin dryness for some crewmembers. Everyone seems more rested after a more relaxed day on campus.
Two EVAs are being planned and requested for tomorrow.
Reports to file:
1. EVA #4 and #5 requests
2. Ops Report
3. Sol Summary
4. Journalist Report
5. Creative Report
6. Green Hab Report
7. Astronomy Report
8. Daily Photos
HAB_013018_Observatory can be the feature photo
Crew 188 Sol 2 Green Hab Report 30JAN2018
Environmental control: Heating
Ambient with door opening: Shade cloth on
Working hours in Green Hab: 09:10 – 09:40, 18:45 – 19:25
Outside temp at working hour: __ , ___
Inside temp at working hour: 25ºC, (unclear for second round)
Inside temp H: 35ºC,
Inside temp L: 14ºC,
Inside humidity: 90 (I may have spilled water on the sensor which may explain why it has become more illegible)
Inside humidity H: 90%
Inside humidity L: 16%
Hours of supplemental light: 05:00 – 11:59
Changes to the crops: Moved more tomato and bean plants to blue container to allow for more light for blocked plants and for easier watering access. Trimmed back several cucumber, tomato, and bean vines and stems. Harvested the following: dill, sage, and beans.
Daily water usage for crops: 8 gallons
Time(s) of watering plants: 18:45 – 19:25
Changes to research plants: After an email from Atila, I will be monitoring the quinoa for sprouting.
Narrative: This morning around, just after 9 am, I checked on the plants and they most of them seem to be doing excellent with a few cucumber plants that have yellow and wilting leaves. I moved a few more plants from the wooden platform to the blue bin and began trimming back some of the excessive growth to lessen the vegetation and give more energy to the fruits. There is still some more re-organizing I would like to do to give equal light to some of the plants that were shaded out. In the evening I came back to find that the plants seemed a bit more wilted than in the morning. I might implement a mid-day watering to see if that fixes the problem, or perhaps add a 9th gallon to watering. It’s specifically the tomato plants that appear the most wilted. I also trimmed several of the yellow leaves off and will continue to do so.
Future needs and questions: Going to look for gardening gloves tomorrow – those cucumber stems have a bite! Where would be an appropriate location to place or dispose of trimmed vegetation?
Summary of new hardware set up in GreenHab:
Today our Executive Officer set up a prototype piece of NASA plant growth hardware called “OASYS” which will be utilized to test a new watering system ideal for reduced and microgravity environments. The experiment will utilize the east corner of the GreenHab and will be photographed daily as the plants grow. She took photographs of the hardware inventory and set up and transmitted back to the scientist at Kennedy Space Center.
The Orbital Aquifer System for VEGGIE was invented by NASA sceinetists at the Kennedy Space Center for passively watering plants in space. The team will be growing salad bar variety lettuce and Italian basil seeds in the hardware. These two plant types are quick to grow, easy to germinate from seeds and can be transferred to pots at the end of our mission for the following crews to enjoy with their dinner.
VEGGIE is an EXPRESS rack facility for growing plants on the International Space Station. NASA Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center engineers designed and built a passive delivery system to water plants over time without the need for power or maintenance and minimal human interaction. The design employs capillary force to deliver water from a reservoir into the plant root zone. The new hardware is modeled after the VEGGIE Root Mat that is currently aboard ISS and solves several key issues that were seen during the first VEG-01 experiment.
Our Executive Officer will run this experiment with our Crew Engineer and Crew Astronomer/GreenHab Officer checking the germination daily and monitoring growth, recording light, temperature and humidity statistics and taking daily photographs for the scientist.
Crew 188 Sol 2 Journalist Report 30JAN2018
Summary Title: It’s only Sol 2?
Author’s name: Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D., MDRS Crew 188 Commander
It’s only Sol 2? This is a common type of question asked by hard working groups, and it usually implies a complete unawareness of elapsed time. This phenomenon is insightful that there is strong group cohesion, and is the unfortunate side effect of working too hard. But time is not on our side. Our mission simulation has less than two weeks to climb a science-mountain of projects and ambitious goals to share photos, videos and stories with the world.
Each crewmember was carefully selected by the “Team ISU on Mars” alumni with input from the International Space University who reviewed their strong resumes. Each member of our team has brought their own research projects to test in this analogue environment from their original proposals a YEAR ago. The crew is excited to share their work, their stories, and their experiences as this mission simulation unfolds. Tonight will be a story for the ages, possibly the largest multi-crew, mission support, and Earth-based undertaking of the mission. The event: the observation of the lunar eclipse, a.k.a. the Super Blue Blood Moon. Super because the Moon is apogee (closest approach in an elliptical orbit). Blue because a “Blue Moon” refers to a calendar month with two full Moons. And Blood for the lunar eclipse where the Moon will appear red from atmospheric distortion when Earth’s shadow is cast over the lunar surface. With more branches than a tree, the “what-if” scenarios for taking this event to the public from the desert may never be known. All I will add now is, stay tuned for tomorrow’s report and possible posts from late night on the red planet. The real question is, what will this be like for a crew on Mars watching two moons experiencing astronomical alignment?
Ok, onto today’s news. Our EVA team of Tat (Tomcat), Zac (Boltz), and myself (KOB1, pronounced koh-bee-one) had a productive EVA on the Rovers (two-seat electric off-roading golf carts named after the Martian rovers) mapping out a track along the primary routes with new waypoints. This was to help ground truth existing printed maps with reconnaissance and to help familiarize the crew with their working environment and potential scientific sites for future EVAs. It was my first EVA on these vehicles (they were used in EVA 002 the previous day by others) and a new experience. I was able to ride shotgun and watch my GPS like a hawk with a map in hand. This was extremely efficient as I had hands free to radio updates to my crewmates for our waypoint stops. Our time at MDRS is essentially composed of
experiences and moments. Even after being on 4 previous MDRS missions (25, 44, 56, and 58) and attending 2 University Rover Challenges as a judge, I knew when I signed up for my 7th trip to MDRS that there would plenty to learn. It’s been 10+ years since my last simulation (FMARS 2007 100-day simulation, a.k.a. F-XI LDM) and this trip is a refresher on what it’s actually like to be in the throes of a simulation so that I can stay current, almost like a recertification. MDRS campus has changed immensely in 10 years, but the beat of the simulation remains familiar. The crew back in the Hab was meticulously prepping for tonight’s event, a story best told tomorrow.
Oh one more thing I want to squeeze in here on my personal journey… HI RAFI, I’M ON MARS YAY!
Ryan L. Kobrick, Ph.D.
MDRS Crew 188 Commander