MARS DESERT RESEARCH STATION

Journalist Report – April 27th

Prepared by: Dana Levin, Crew Journalist
   Date: 27Apr2017
   MDRS Sol  Day 3 update:

Once again we had a day of crisis. There is certainly no chance that these were planned ahead of time though, we must just simply be a horribly unlucky crew. After breakfast several crew members remained sore after Sarah “Connors” nightly physical condition beating. For this reason we elected to split the expedition into two teams. One would stay in the hab to conduct some just in time training on Star City operations and Sleep physiology while the other would perform a survey of a nearby area with poor satellite imagery. However the habitat teams day of rest was not to be…

An alert from Mission Control threw the team into action. A hasty rescue was planned and the science objectives had to be abandoned to deal with the emergency. While the day was long, the team performed admirably and managed to recover all field equipment, prevent horrific injuries and ultimately finish the science objectives including recovering a rare Martian dessert from the desert to complete tonights dinner. The post EVA debrief and clean up was also a long day, but in the end the day was endorsed with such phrases as “I had moments of sheer terror” and “I feel like I won the golden ticket” along with “I am securing VDs package” and even included a disco dance on the Martian surface to ensure a fellow crewmember’s health. We even found a secret message written in stones behind the habitat in an area which we shall dub Lemur Point. We are thrilled to have had another shipment of water last night which will certainly be enough to see us through our mission. However, we discovered that sanitation ops without a functional water heater in 50F weather is far less pleasant than one might expect. It might even rival living with nine uncleaned people in a sealed habitat for a week in terms of pleasantness. 

We are now settling down to eat dinner as a crew, and prepare for our discussion of intercultural issues in spaceflight and plan our intra-crew video competition. Looking forward to tomorrow’s experiences and what new disasters the sunrise may bring…

XO Report – April 27th

Prepared by Dana Levin, XO

Another great Martian morning here at the Hab.

Rick led the group with two lectures this morning: an overview of life and training at Star City (Russia) and winter survival for returned astronauts and cosmonauts.

Ben took us through the EVA brief of a complex and long distance mission which was exploratory and included a search for life.  The teams were split into two groups, ‘alpha’ and ‘bravo’ teams.  Unfortunately, alpha team had to abandon their exploration mission early due to solar flare activity.  A delta evacuation was called and alpha team returned to base after abandoning vehicles.  Bravo team was able to complete their mission, despite briefly losing one crew member who became slightly confused and had wandered off.  The lost crew member was in good health upon retrieval with no lasting medical issues.  Appropriate decontamination procedures were followed for the arriving teams and base was able to give the all-clear following the event. No signs of radiation exposure in any of the crew members has been detected and they are all in good health.

Debrief covered some of the challenges faced during the EVA, in particular: navigation and consumables and solar flare risk.

Dinner was pizza which went down well.

Further discussion of the book ‘Dragonfly’ was led by Rick after dinner and we are looking forward to a bit of dessert.

Journalist Report – April 26th

Prepared by: Dana Levin, Crew Journalist
Date: 26Apr2017
MDRS Sol Day 3 update:

Sol Day 3 began for us with confirmation that our water supply would be replenished by an autonomous pick up truck. This was very welcome news for both our parched lips and our noses. We celebrated with discussions of Sex and Gender issues in Spaceflight, Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Occular Syndrome, and Radiation Injuries in Spaceflight. We then prepared for our third “EVA to Tim’s Peake”

Zone: 12S Easting: 518300 Northing: 4249300

of this mission with our briefing and suiting up. The Group deployed themselves smoothly with excellent teamwork and enthusiastically set out to accomplish out goal. The team then split up into two groups to make the tasks easier. The coordination between these two groups and the Habitat was unparalleled and the mission was a resounding success. However, once again disaster struck. This was our third incident, the crew is beginning to suspect a pattern….
In any case our breathable air was stretched to the limit for our return but the expert leadership and cool heads of MDRS 179 prevailed and Our crew was successfully evacuated back to the Hab. A full assessment was conducted and stabilizing care was provided. All crew somehow remain well despite significant health challenges in these past few days. Crew morale is significantly boosted by messages from those back on Earth we are able to receive during our comm passes, particularly Philadelphia mission support and to our Capcoms for the astronomy updates.
Following the EVA The crew ate lunch together, discussed the learning points of the day’s EVA and then settled in to discuss medical contingencies and spatial disorientation. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s tasks but we are feeling wary of what it may bring given how our past several days have gone…

XO Report – April 26th

Crew 179 XO’s Report 04.26.2017
Sol 3

There is nothing like a Martian sunrise.

The crew got up a little earlier than usual and were treated to a crimson solar breach over the red desert outside the Hab. Photos through the portholes never do it justice but always provide a warm reminder at some point when you look at them again.

Morning lectures started on time at 08:00 and covered radiation and visual impairment in space. EVA mission brief was at 10:00. The objectives of today’s mission were to establish a comms relay south of the Hab at Tim’s (or Thomas) peak and to test Mars Mound and 3 other test relay sites due south of that location. The mission proceeded well with Tim’s Peak relay established with Mars Mound and test site 1 and 2. Time constraints resulted in aborting the search for test site 3. On the return, one crew member suffered a serious injury which precipitated a delta evacuation to base. The team arrived at Hab with casualty at mission time + 25 minutes with all team members on oxygen reserve. Patient was stabilized in Hab by the medical team. The EVA (sim) was terminated when patient was stable inside the Hab. Debrief has held afterwards over another Rick Cole special meal: enchilizza (an enchilada with pizza toppings). Strange, yet delicious.

In terms of the debrief itself, we felt the team performed well under the circumstances with good initial relay and exploration of test sites as well as prompt medical evacuation and treatment of the casualty.

Some fine tuning of our approach was made during the debrief. After the debrief we continued with lectures with ‘Virtual Dana’ giving two lectures: contingencies on EVAs in Mars environment and spatial adaptation in zero gravity and space flight.

During the virtual lectures, we received a priority message from Shannon. She informed us that the water delivery person had run off with a woman ‘from Venus’ and was non-contactable. She stepped up and went to fill the water and delivered it to us. We duly informed her that she was our Obi-Wan and was indeed “our only hope.” It’s a relief to know that our water situation has been resolved.

Following VD’s (Virtual Dana’s) lectures Sarah led several (punishing) exercise sessions which earned her the monicker, Sarah Connor (of ‘Terminator’ fame).

Of note, CO Ben appears to be having some difficulty with color differentiation in the yellow-orange spectrum. We are hoping that this is a transient visual condition. He has no other symptoms of note, but we will continue to monitor him.

In the evening, we were treated to a great potatoes-au-gratin courtesy of Kevin and Adam. To feed the holes left by Sarah Connor’s (punishing) workouts we had a few supplementary side plates of tuna cheese wraps which hit the spot.

The plan for the evening is a group discussion of an excerpt from Bryan Burrough’s ‘Dragonfly’ and then chocolate brownies… of course.

Crew Photos – April 25th

Preparing 

The Hab

 

Searching for historical artifacts.

 

Roving

 

Searching for signs of life.

 


A triumphant return.

XO Report – April 25th

Crew 179 XO Report: 04.25.2017 SOL 2
 
It was an early start for the crew after a somewhat chilly night (with Ben downstairs suffering the brunt of it.)  After breakfast, we assembled at approximately 09:00 for lectures on Decompression Syndromes and Urological Problems in Space.  After which we were briefed for our second EVA.  It was a complex mission with three main objections and one ‘get-ahead’ task.  The first mission was to locate the crash site of a Chinese satellite and retrieve the remains of the canine passenger that was launched aboard it.  The second objective was to locate the satellite relay station and test its function.  The third objective was to collect geological samples of three rock types from a rock fall drainage.  The ‘get-ahead’ task was to test comms from Ambush Alley and a nearby hill.  (We had also one conservation ‘too-cute’ task of releasing the resident martian life form which was live trapped in the Hab last night-a.k.a. pack rat- back into the desert.)  Kevin was lead and took the team through this complex mission which overall went well.  (EVA start 11:30).  The first three objectives were achieved and the ‘get-ahead’ task was aborted due to medical issues with the team doctor, Alicia.  She had experienced progressive back and hip pain.  
 
Despite the absence of an obvious leak in her suit, decompression illness could not be out-ruled so a delta evacuation was called and the ‘get ahead’ task was aborted.  We returned to the Hab at approximately 13:20 with the patient and she was evaluated in-suit after repress and then in sick bay.  Graded opening of her suit was performed and full physical exam done after suit was doffed.  Ultrasound ultimately showed a left kidney stone and the diagnosis of renal colic eventually given.  A treatment plan of oral NSAID and IM opiod was prescribed. The EVA (sim) was concluded and we debriefed over ‘breakfast-as-lunch’ which consisted of blueberry pancakes, eggs, Spam, and hashbrowns courtesy of ‘chef de mission’- Rick Cole.  Gastronomic delight aside, we were able identify several issues with our EVA today from the debrief, namely: communication etiquette, adherence to tasks, off-nominal ops (i.e. hard landing of drone today in high winds making it non-functional and unavailable for further use), and visual identification of crew members by role while on EVAs.  We made a team decision to revisit these issues in a separate meeting this evening after dinner.
 
(By the way, in case anyone is interested: our conservation mission was successful.  The mouse was returned safely to the wild.)
 
At 15:00 hours, we were treated to a few more lectures: Capsule Landing in Water, Atmospheric Conditions and Toxicology, Study on Congestion and Headache Correlates in Space.
 
The Hab water situation was discussed after lecture as we appear to be pretty close to our last indoor tank full.  The plan is to pump the outside tank to max out the indoor tank and try to press Sharon to expedite the water delivery.  Failing this we will need to decide whether or not to slowly dry up like prunes and be buried under piles of our own festering dishes (true to sim) or possibly break sim and collect water from Hanksville.  If we learned nothing else from today, space if full of complex decisions.
 
Crew physical training is scheduled before dinner to be led by Sarah, crew fitness trainer.
Submitted by Dana Levin, Crew 179 XO

Sol Summary – April 25th

It began with crew wake up. Weather was partly cloudy with a 50% chance of precipitation and threatening electrical storms all day. Winds were close to 40km/hour out of north. We are still without showers and on water rations as our water supply continues to dwindle. The resupply ship was delayed and nine crew members in the habitat operating off of leftover water from the previous crew burns through the supplies fast. We are hopeful for a rapid resupply. Waste management systems are also still on backups as the primary waste system is down for repairs. That said the crew is in excellent health and enthusiastically took to our morning tasks and after a hearty breakfast and our morning briefings, we took to the rovers once more for an EVA out to Robert’s Rock Garden at Zone 12S Easting 545687 Northing 4249173. Our surveys revealed many interesting finds today including geological samples and a few samples of historical value. Upon return we had yet another unexpected incapacitating incident but our expert medical crew once again stabilized the patient and returned her safely to the habitat where she was cared for until symptoms resolved. 2 incidents in 2 days is surely no more than a coincidence.
The day then continued with a debrief of the days events and a discussion of CO2, water survival field operations, and hypoxia. Once these were done we attempted to help our water shortage by returning to the water delivery tanks from the last crew. We’d discovered a small amount of water remaining in the tanks that could not initially be drained by the pumps. Our flight engineers rigged a pump and lever system to drain the small amount of water that had been left in them into our habitat’s static tank. We were able to salvage an additional 15 gallons bringing our total potable supply up to 53 gallons. Based on WHO standards for Earth based disaster medicine and our own rationing calculations from urine output and activity level, our Health and Safety Officer estimates this will last us about 1-2 more days. We are confident this will be sufficient for the supply ship to reach us. If it does not dehydration will set in. We will become weak, lethargic, confused, and eventually die. Those with female biology will likely outlast the males but even they will not last more than 4 days without water…
We remain enthusiastic and look forward to tomorrows tasks confident that we have solved all of our problems and will have smooth sailing from here on out. Reports on operations and photos will be submitted as well.

Daily Summary April 21st

Crew 178 Daily Summary Report 21APR2017

MDRS Daily Summary Report for sol 11

Summary Title: 12th EVA

Mission Status: Good

Sol Activity Summary:

Hab

8.00: Breakfast

10.30: Muscle wasting exercises

13.00: Lunch

GreenHab

/

ScienceDome

14.00: Experiment in biology: survey of plants growth and health progress

15.00: Experiment reports redaction

16.00: Packing

EVA

11.00: UTM NAD27 12S 4253000-518500

Telecommunication relays experiment

Weather:

Sunny

Crew Physical Status:

Everyone is fine

Look Ahead Plan:

Experiment reports redaction

End Packing

Reports to be file:

Operation Report, Daily Summary Report, EVA 12 Report, Journalist Report, End of mission Report, Commander Report

Support Requested:

/

Daily Summary – April 19

Crew 178 Daily Summary Report 19APR2017
MDRS Daily Summary Report for sol 9

Summary Title: 10th EVA
Mission Status: Good
Sol Activity Summary:

Hab
8.00: Breakfast
10.30: Muscle wasting exercises experiment
13.00: Lunch

GreenHab
/

ScienceDome
Experiment in biology: survey of plants growth and health progress
Experiment reports redaction

EVA
15.00: UTM NAD27 12S 4255500-518500
Diffractometer study: sample collection

Media: pictures and movies of several areas
Weather:
Sunny and slight windy

Crew Physical Status
Everyone is fine

Look Ahead Plan:
Last EVA and concluding experiments

Reports to be file: Operation Report, Daily Summary Report, EVA 10 Report

Support Requested:
/

EVA Report – April 19th

Crew 178 EVA #10 Report 19 APR 2017

Weather: sunny, and very windy
Temperature: around 20°C
Location: UTM NAD27 4253000 – 519000
Duration: 120 min
Team: Aurian d’Avernas (Crew Commander), Calogero Montedoro (Crew Biologist), Mathieu Vander Donckt (Crew Scientist), Damien Mertens (Crew Engineer) and Elke Mergny (Crew Geologist)
Purpose:
– Collecting new soil samples
– Telecommunication: installation of omni-and-unidirectional telecommunication relays
Outputs:
– Collecting succeeded.
– Telecommunication relays installation succeeded, need to continue recordings tomorrow