MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

EVA Report – January 21st

EVA Report:
SOL: 6
Date: 21/01/2017
Person filling out the report: Roy Naor
Crew members involved in the EVA: Roy Naor, Michaela Musilova
EVA leader: Michaela Musilova
Begin: 2:00pm
End: 15:55 pm
Type of EVA: Walking + ATV 350, ATV 350
Purpose: : Carbonate mineral prospecting and sampling, together with endolith prospecting and sampling
UTM Coordinates: UTM 12S 518231e 4250725n NAD27
Summary: We got to the same locations from Sol 1 EVA to make a better scientific documantation. This time we took GPS coordinates for each site and wrote all comments. We took several pictures of each outcrope and draw it in the notbook.
All the sampled sandstone outcrops are at the same level of stratigraphy in the Brushy Basing member of Morisson Formation and interpeted by Clarke & Stoker as anastomosing fixed fluvial channels.
The carbonates in the sandstones apear as concritions and cements and assumed to originated in latter diagenesys.
Michaela found another good outcrop for endolith samples and she collected some more from the site of EVA 1.

Crew Photos – January 21st

Science Hab January 21st 2017 Idriss keeps track of printing progress remotely on his computer
Outside HAB January 21st 2017 Michaela and Roy on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Outside HAB January 20th 2016 Michaela and Idriss on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
MDRS January 21st 2017 MDRS on a windy afternoon Sol 5 (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Main Airlock January 20th 2017 Idriss getting ready for EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Hab January 21st 2017 View from the communal area of the Hab (Credit Michaela Musilova)
HAB January 20th 2017 Niamh hosted Irish night on Sol5 (Credit Niamh Shaw)

Sol Summary – January 21st

MDRS Sol Summary Report for Sol 6
Crew Engineer Idriss Sisaid
Summary Title
Without the skills of MacGyver, Mark Watney would have died, alone.
Mission Status:
The first generation of Martians certainly need to do a lot with very few things. The resources being scarce, it is vital to make the most of every single resource and react quickly when a failure occurs. Often, the best solutions are the simplest…
Sol Activity Summary:
Growing plants on Mars is one of the most important objectives. The resupplies from Earth are very rare (owing to the trip being very long) and aliens, assuming they were edible, still have a tendency to hide from us. This means the only source of food at our disposition is a limited amount of freeze-dried food sent from our home planet and any plant or vegetable that we can grow up here.
Our best astrobiologists here on Mars are called Rick Blake and Michaela Musilova, and they are doing their very best to make us switch into becoming space vegetarians. While our plants are growing, we still keep it to our daily highly-nutritious routine: breakfast with stone-hard cereals with powdered milk that can last forever. Of course, I can’t skip the orange juice made from some mysterious dried chemical powder. We have wondered whether it was the left-over from a hospital, back in our home planet, as it does look like we are taking chemotherapy at every meal. However, that is part of the daily life of a Martian.
Everything in space wants to kill you. That is a fact, and you do need to be smart otherwise you become a Martian corpse (not fun). Amongst these things that want you to sleep forever on Mars, the two masters of death that are particularly dreadful are called radiation and low-pressure atmosphere. As humans, we need to find shields and put our weak bodies in an acceptable range of temperature and pressure. In order not to bring everything from Earth (which would be too complex), we need to build them here. 3d-printing habitats and shelters is one solution that we are investigating. If we can manufacture bricks that can be assembled into infrastructures that can hold the pressure and which can provide extra-radiation shielding, then our weak bodies will be saved by our strong brains. Today, on Sol 6, as the crew engineer responsible to the project, I managed to repair the 3d-printer (again) and it seems like our first bricks are finally coming along.
I was told that geologists can go nuts when they don’t find the rocks that they seek, but, when they do, they can become the epitome of happiness. Our geologist confirmed that theory today. Roy taught me how to detect carbonates in the rocks that we collected together a few Sols ago. He has finally found the rocks he was looking for and I must admit it’s very cool to see the bubbles of CO2 evaporate when he pours acid (OHCl) into the carbonates, reacting with the calcium anchored into the rocks. Understanding where we put our feet is not only important for science but also on an engineering perspective: if I need to build something using the Martian soil, then I’d better ask for Roy’s advice before I start doing anything!
Finally, it is obvious that we are millions of miles away (I love the music with that title by Kim Wilde by the way) and roughly 7 billion people on Earth do not give a single piece of attention to what we do here. However, Niamh, as a perfect example of Irish people, does her best to diminish that number. Outreach is important not only to inspire the next generation of Martians who will replace us but also to show to the world that we are one. Roy is from Israel and has Jewish ancestors, I am from France with Berber origins and I grew up with Muslim traditions, Michaela is a strong woman from Slovakia and she is our commander, Rick is from Australia and Niamh is Irish and grew up in a Christian family belonging to the Church of England. Yet, we are the best friends in this entire planet and we want to prove the world that, hand in hand, we can build a better future.
Look Ahead Plan:
Team PRIMA holds to its mission statement to prove the concept of ISRU 3D printing of interlocking building blocks filled with local Martian regolith, as means of future technology to build more habitats on Mars, other than the vanguard MDRS. The astrobiologists and geologist will be continuing with their projects to better understand this alien planet and its inhabitants.
Anomalies in work:
The main static tank that provides water to our hab, is leaking. As an engineer, I will refer to the god of maintenance: tape. We are requesting mission support to guide us in this difficult task otherwise, god will repair the problem.
Weather:
The sun has appeared again today and strong winds have helped drying up the soil. The wind is however very strong and can pose problems to the future EVAs if it keeps its intensity.
Crew Physical Status:
The crew is in good shape, at least, until the cancer juice gets us.
EVA:
Roy and Michaela went on an EVA and sampled rocks for their projects. As a simple-minded engineer, I don’t see why they are driving miles away to find rocks in a planet made of approximately 100% of them! Of course, I am joking. Michaela was seeking for endoliths, which are extreme micro-aliens living in rocks, and Roy sampled more rocks for carbonates. Their EVA was also an occasion to correlate their research with the geography and the location (using a precise GPS, made possible by the swarm of satellites copied from Earth and pasted to the Martian orbits). Looking forward to my next EVA tomorrow!
Sign off = activated;
Dreams = Sweet.
// From your favourite crew engineer.

GreenHab Report – January 21st

Sol 6
21/01/17
GreenHab Status:
It’s toasty warm all Sol round now that the new heater has been installed. This means the GreenHab is essentially fully functional (minus a few mod cons), and ready to have long term experiments. This also means the capacity for botanical experiments has dramatically increased. The seedlings planted by prior crews are really picking up the growth pace, and the seeds I have planted are already sprouting. Soon the GreenHab will live up to its colourful name, being lush with greenery.
The grow tent is still inside the main Hab, where I suggest it should stay (if left in the GreenHab it gets far too hot to support plant life). It is being used primarily as an incubator for newly planted seeds until they have sprouted and are ready to be moved to the GreenHab proper.
GreenHab Update:
The heater is now fully functional, including automation, leaving only fan cooling to be done manually (if it is needed at all).
A corn growth experiment is now underway by myself and Michaela in the GreenHab, determining the base growth rate of corn (interestingly sown from popcorn kernels courtesy of crew 171!) under simulated Martian conditions. This data will go on to help design a later experiment testing the effects of heavy metals on growth rate, to be conducted by Michaela in collaboration with the Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.
There is also an experiment in the grow tent, by myself and Michaela, measuring the effects seedlings experience based on the density of seeds. Six different crops were sown in pots with seed densities ranging from 1 to 12 seeds per 4cm2. This experiment is to be followed up by Michaela in collaboration with researchers at Mendel University, also in the Czech Republic.
I have also begun to test soil samples from the surrounding area for salinity and pH. This is to determine where soil quality is best, in the hopes that small quantities of soil can be sourced locally and improved with compost in the future.
The chard is sprouting.
GreenHab corn experiment (photo credit Michaela Musilova) sol 6
Growth tent seed density experiment (photo credit Michaela Musilova) sol 6
Requests:
– More potting mix, large pots / planter boxes
– Larger plants such as fruit trees, eg. a citrus fruit.
– Any instructions for setting up the aquaponics system.

Creative Report – January 21st

Mars money
By Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist Crew 173
Is it really Saturday already? It’s hard to imagine that only a week ago we arrived at MDRS, and that we are essentially halfway through our time here. It’s all going too fast and yet in other ways, it feels like we have always been here. Our lives back on Earth seem a lifetime away now. Roy went looking for something in his room last night and came across some US currency and brought it out to show us.
Money. So strange now, when you look at it on Mars. Only seven days ago back on Earth, we couldn’t do any-thing without money. Breakfast $10.00. Batteries $4.00. Coffee to go $3.00. Now we can do nothing with it. Except perhaps to rub some mud off your boots as you re-enter the airlock post-EVA.
That’s the interesting thing about being here on Mars. When you strip your daily routine back to simply surviving the elements and completing the daily tasks, life gets a whole lot easier. And you can’t help but reflect on life back on Earth. And all the stuff. The hoards of books, that I probably haven’t opened in years, the wardrobe of clothes, shoes, and odds and sods, bed linen, bed, carpets, cushions, throws, scented candles, bicycles, houses, meetings, cafes, office blocks, buses, trains. All useless here.
High-value products on Mars: thermals, boots, camera, internet, ATVs, heat, the solar generator, water, a functioning toilet, food. Chocolate. And coffee. Lots of coffee. Tinfoil, to cover our plates at mealtimes, and cut down on washing up. Movie night. Sunrise. Sunsets. The spice drawer. Laughter. Sharing stories. The crew. That’s our currency now.
Irish culture night went alright. The Shepherds pie got eaten, which is a good sign I think. We had a guessing game about pronouncing some Irish names, which is always difficult for non-native ‘gaelgoirs’ (people who speak Irish). And ‘Pass the Pigs’ continues to entertain, or frustrate, in equal measure!
I hope our next 7 days ahead are just as challenging and rewarding as the week we just put down. And then it will be time to return to Earth. Back to money. And bedlinen, and carpets, and buses and office blocks. And also to family.
CREW 173
SIGNING OFF
by Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist

Crew Photos – January 20th

January 20th 2017 Rock samples from Israeli students experiment
Science Dome January 20th 2017 Roy working in the Lab (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Outside HAB January 20th 2017 Michaela and Idriss on EVA (Credit Michaela Musilova)
Outside HAB January 20th 2017 Michaela And Idriss on EVA (Credit Niamh Shaw)
Outside_Hab_January_20th_2017_A_snowy_and_foggy_start_to_the_day_(Credit_ Niamh Shaw)
Outside Hab January 20th 2017 Crew 173 group photo (Credit Niamh Shaw)
January 20th 2017 Rock samples under microscope (Credit Richard Blake)
January 20th 2017 Rock sample possibly containing Iron Oxide an experiment for Israeli high school students(Credit Richard Blake)
Hab January 20th 2017 Idriss working on the 3d printer project

Journalist Report – January 20th

“Smells, snow and potato”
By Niamh Shaw
Crew Artist & Journalist Crew 173
We got a delivery of water on Sol 4 so we treated ourselves to our first shower in 6 days (not Roy, he’s the hardcore outdoorsy type of the crew). It was agreed that the guys shower last night while Michaela and I waited until this morning. Rick was the first one to jump in. Idriss then took his turn and of course being French (all French are born with panache, an innate sense of style and a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’), beat p’oor Aussie Rick’ out of the park!  And so ‘Independence Day’, our movie choice for the night (Commanders selection), was upstaged intermittently by an intoxicating waft of sandalwood, fresh linen and some sort of pine freshness. Michaela and I enjoyed our showers very much, especially since we both have long tresses to maintain. I felt AMAZING after it too. You would imagine, being ladies, that we would make an even bigger impact fragrance-wise, post-shower. I just asked everyone if they had a similar olfactory overload to last night, if not greater. They didn’t. What? Aren’t the women supposed to be the experts in smelling sweetly? I dunno…. We should do a study at MDRS on this.. go figure..
It was a snowy day this morning with heavy fog. And so we had a long working breakfast planning the day, and preparing emails for our daily communication with Earth later in the evening. Caught some lovely pictures from the Hab as we waited for the day to settle down into the more usual red mud we are accustomed to.
It’s Irish night tonight which means I’m up cooking duty. And entertainment. I’m not nearly as prepared as Idriss or Roy. I spent the afternoon preparing potatoes (well, you couldn’t have an Irish meal without potatoes, could you?). I have my Irish flag, and some phrases to share, but no fancy French chocolate or Israeli ‘Bamba’. However, I do have one thing up my sleeve. A game of chance called ‘Pass the Pigs’. I wont say anymore, because my crew mates might read this before dinner and I’ll spoil the surprise. Wish me luck. Or as we say in Ireland ‘Go nEiri and bothar leat’.
Final word- don’t underestimate how nicely clean people smell (especially men, it seems)!
CREW 173
SIGNING OFF

Sol Summary – January 20th

MDRS Sol 5 Summary
20/01/17
Summary Title: Hot Snow and Cool Cats
By GreenHab Officer Richard Blake
Mission Status:
Captain‘s log:: Stardate 002017J1 – We have … encountered some kind of … frozen liquid. It coats everything … crunches beneath your boots. It may … hamper the mission, but we will … push on ::end log.
Sol Activity Summary:
Dawn’s rays illuminated a pristine white landscape, draped in a thin blanket of snow. It was the first time we have seen a snow covered Martian landscape and gave us the perfect opportunity to break out the cameras and attempt to capture the beauty of our natural setting.
Michaela and Idriss went on an EVA (described below) to attempt to collect some extremophile samples, despite the snowy and muddy conditions. They were successful in their mission and they also succeeded in driver the rover in these difficult conditions, which was something the crew has attempted for the first time.
When Michaela and Idriss got back to the Hab from their EVA, the whole crew donned their exo suits and exited the airlock to join them. The aim of this mass EVA was to take photgraphic advantage of the snowy conditions. Niamh (aka Midas) worked her magic and captured a number of stunning shots of both the team and the landscape.
Around midday a pair of bipedal aliens parked their speeder a short distance from the Hab. They quickly fortified a position inside our GreenHab, spending a good few hours studying our technology. When they retreated, we found to our delight that they had somehow improved our life support systems, leaving the GreenHab capable of supporting our plants overnight!
As the sun shone down around us in the afternoon, it turned the beautiful white snow to a muddy slush, leaving the ground as muddy as it was when we first arrived. This will slow any EVA progress in the near future, but hopefully a few sunny days will dry it out again.
Idriss has been hard at work trying to get the 3D printer up and running again. Hopefully his efforts will be rewarded and his goals of printing bricks achieved in the coming days (if not hours!).
Roy has also taken over the Science Dome, using the facilities to begin studying the many rock and soil samples he has collected over the past week. A number of interesting features were found, including a fascinating iron nodule in one sample.
Michaela is continuing to attend to her students‘ project and her projects in collaboration with the Czech Masaryk and Mendel Universities. I will be helping her out on these, as they involve a lot of GreenHab related activities.
Tonight will conclude with Irish culture night, where we are sure to eat many a potato, joke about leprechauns and cry that we can’t sate ourselves with a nice Guinness.
Look Ahead Plan:
With the GreenHab heater fully functional now, more seedlings can be grown, transplanted and left in there permentantly.
The geology lab-work can also begin in earnest with Roy and myself logging and recording data on the samples collected. I will also continue helping Michaela with her numerous projects.
Depending on weather and ground conditions, an EVA will be conducted by Roy to collect more samples relevant for his research and Michaela will try to capture a few videos/photos for outreach purposes.
Idriss will be continuing his 3D printing work, and either still be troubleshooting or printing bricks like Pokemon Go prints money.
Anomalies in work:
Aliens took over the GreenHab for a few hours, however they seem only to have upgraded our life support systems in there. No other anomalies to report.
Weather:
Landscape was snow covered in the morning, and overcast. It warmed up a little in the afternoon, and the sun even poked his head out for an hour or so. Snow has mostly melted now.
Crew Physical Status:
Tip top – though I suspect the isolation is getting to a certain crew-mate. We may not be safe for much longer… 😉
EVA:
An EVA was conducted in the morning, when the ground was still not too muddy. The purpose of this was to collect some hypolith samples for Michaela. The snow had melted enough to allow for a few promising samples to be collected.
Reports to be filed:
Sol 5 EVA report
Sol 6 EVA request
Journalist’s report
Operations report
Support Requested:
None today

Sol Summary – January 19th

MDRS Sol Summary Report for Sol 4
Crew geologist Roy Naor
Summary Title
Mars can be harsh but with Team PRIMA everything is under control!
Mission Status:
It’s Mars Northern hemisphere winter now and snow started falling from the thin CO2 atmosphere above us. However, Team PRIMA is a anti-hibernation crew and steaming up work as mission continues.
Sol Activity Summary:
When you are at the extreme, planning ahead might be the one thing that can do the trick and save ya’. As We have left two of our faithful rovers on the windy Plato of the mighty Tharsis Rise, towering above the vanguard first Martian permanent station, we had to plan a rescue mission to retrieve our tools, given the constraints of impending snowflakes. However, the EVA time in the Martian anoxic and radiative outdoor is expensive and we could not let ourselves spend this cost only on logistics. Hence we pulled from our science task list one of our prestige experiment that we were sent for to conduct on Mars. It was an experiment designed by Israeli high school youth to detect variances in rock type along the colorful slopes west to MDRS. Using remote sensing data, the students targeted coordinates along the slopes where there are noticeable change in color between two layers. The astronauts were directed to transect the slope bottom to top to take pictures and collect small sample from each different color rock. For the mission of retrieving the two ATVs the crew selected two of his brave scientists: crew geologist Roy “rocks for breakfast” Naor, for his knowledge of geology field work for conducting the students experiment, and GreenHab officer Richard “endolith for supper” Blake, for his bravery in fulfilling missions under stressful conditions and his high driving capabilities, as an Australian outback person (the rest will be told in the EVA summary ahead).
On the side of our innovative ISRU 3D printing project we are still having unsolved issues. It proves again that once you’re on Mars you can work only with what you have. Luckily enough, our crew Berber engineer Idriss “the dude” Sisaid, is the best man for the job, finding Macgyver solutions to force the printer into actions. More to come on this frontier. Our fine artist Niamh “all she touches is gold” Shaw working hard on creating our most important product- Team PRIMA outreach to the world arsenal of high quality media products. Our fearless leader, crew commander Michaela “multitasker” Musilova (MMM) is on the go with her students’ GreenHab experiment, and several other projects, while also working hard on managing the communication with earth and mission control to maintain our needs and duties.
Look Ahead Plan:
Team PRIMA holds to its mission statement to prove the concept of ISRU 3D printing of interlocking building blocks filled with local Martian regolith, as means of future technology to build more habitats on Mars, other than the vanguard MDRS.
Anomalies in work:
When the thin CO2 Martian atmosphere yield before the decreasing temperature and forced to give up on the bits of water vapors it holds, snow started to precipitate on the dry red planet and made the isolated crew reschedule all planed EVAs
Weather:
Morning frost stopped the common Requiring Slopes Lineae (RSL) from wetting the hills and making them slippery, at noon the snow came up and proved that this arid planet holds many more faces and mysteries than we previously withhold.
Crew Physical Status:
The crew is in good shape and eager to science the sh@#% out of all things on Mars.
EVA:
As planned, Rick and Roy (R&R) headed transecting the steep slopes of the foot of the Tharsis Rise. They were running on a mission against time to sample each change in color while the coming snow blows in the back of their neck (not literally as they were given the state of the art space suites). They succeeded in their mission and got back to their lost rovers. The road back on the mighty plato was much easier than the day before as the slime on the road was frozen solid. They reached back to the Hab not a minute to soon before finely snowflakes have touched the ground and colored the red planet white velvet.
One small EVA for the two men, but one giant leap for our understanding of the Martian environment- the samples will now undergo “field tests” to check if they hold different properties. The crew will take the samples back with him to Earth and send the rocks to the students in the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where they will be analyzed by the youth scientists. We believe that by doing this experiment Team PRIMA will inspire their imagination and thirst to learn science.
Reports to be filed:
sol 4 summary
Eva report
Eva request
Commander’s report
Operations report
 H&S report
Support Requested:
 We asked previously these two questions several times, which have not been answered yet:
– Does anyone know where exactly the GPS are kept at MDRS? We haven’t come across them yet. Thanks!
– Rick made an inventory of the spices in the kitchen on sol 3, which was sent on sol 3. Please let us know that you have received this and stored it somewhere. Many thanks
Outside Hab January 19th 2017 Niamh proudly waves her Irish flag.
Outside HAB January 19th 2017 MDRS environs Is So Like Mars.
Northing Easting January 18th 2107 Roy and Michaela on EVA.
Main Airlock January 19th 2017 Idriss Michaela and Niamh on EVA.
Main Airlock January 18th 2017 Roy and Rick on EVA.
Outside HAB January 19th 2017 Michaela on EVA.