Journalist Report – March 18th

The Mars Desert Research Station is an ever-expanding project. Initially composed of only the main Hab and a GreenHab, new modules have since been added. A solar observatory (the Musk Observatory), an automatic night telescope, solar panels, the Repair and Assembly Module, as well as the Science Dome which has allowed the laboratory to be moved from the restricted lower deck of the Hab to a brand-new area with lots of space to work. Among our researchers working in the Science Dome are Ariane and Fred, both experts in microbiology.

Ariane is a molecular biology graduate, currently beginning her doctorate in the field of genetics. Her experiment, despite being centred on microbiology, is of great importance to the whole crew: she is making Martian bread! Indeed, we may imagine a situation in which we would run out of yeast on Mars, leaving us unable to make one of our favourite staple foods. To keep the bread production sustainable, we would need to get the yeast, lactobacillus, from elsewhere, and that is exactly what Ariane is doing: she is isolating it from human saliva! This is no easy task. First, she sampled saliva and cultivated the many microorganisms it contains in Petri dishes. These Petri dishes were supposed to be filled with what we call a selective medium – a substance which only allows for the growth of a specific microorganism, in this case, lactobacillus. Unfortunately, the shipment from Earth which carried this medium has had an accident, and hasn’t been able to reach us in time. Ariane therefore had to rely on her knowledge of microbiology to manually isolate and cultivate only the required yeast, and no other micro-organism – no easy task, given their very close resemblance! She is currently very close to achieving her goal, and the rest of the crew very close to eating our first true Martian bread (made, in part, from spit)!

Fred, on the other hand, is a biotech and pharma graduate, currently pursuing a doctorate in bacteriology. His fist experiment, concerning plant culture in Martian regolith, has been covered below. In addition to this, he is also working on a microbiology experiment, aiming to evaluate the survival capacity of bacteria in the harsh conditions that exist on Mars. He is using the bacterium bacillus subtilis, a very common microorganism, and placing it in small quartz vials (a material which allows UV rays to pass unhindered), in different conditions around the station to see how many of them will survive. At the end of the experiment, these bacteria will be counted and their numbers compared to a standard sample which will have been staying in the safety of the Science Dome. This experiment is especially interesting because it sets out to answer many questions about the ability of earth-born bacteria, which are therefore adapted to earth-like conditions, to survive in an environment that is literally alien and extremely aggressive. If conclusive, a positive result could mean that the Martian environment is suitable to harbour Earth’s microbes, which could mean many things for agriculture, human life, development, terraforming, and generally our future on the Red Planet.

Operations Report – March 18th

Crew 190 Operations Report 18th March 2018

SOL: 7

Name of person filing report: Bastien BAIX

Non-nominal systems: Ventilation cover fell.

Notes on non-nominal systems:

Due to the extremely hard winds of the last days, the cover of a ventilation opening above the kitchen fell. We found it on the ground near the GreenHab. As you can see on our self-made 3D model enclosed to this mail, it is high. We don’t have a ladder long enough to fix it.

Generator (hours run): Turned off at 9.45 am (and turned on at 7:10pm).

Solar – SOC 85 % (Before generator is run at night)

Diesel – ~45%

Propane – 81%

Ethanol Free Gasoline (5 Gallon containers for ATV) – 2 empty jerrycans.

Water (trailer) – 0 gallons.

Water (static) – ~ 250 gallons

Water (third tank) – 500 gallons

Trailer to Static Pump used – NO

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

Water Meter: 132 355.8

Toilet tank emptied: YES

ATV’s Used: –

Oil Added: NO

ATV Fuel Used: NO

Hours the ATVs were used today: _

Notes on ATVs: –

Deimos rover used: NO

Hours: 116.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: –

Currently charging: NO

Notes on Deimos rover: flat tire, not yet repaired

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR

Hours:

Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging:

Spirit rover used: YES

Hours: 26.1

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 43%

Currently charging: NO

Opportunity rover used: YES

Hours: 25

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 30%

Currently charging: YES

Curiosity rover used: YES

Hours: 20.7

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 55%

Currently charging: YES

HabCar used and why, where: –

General notes and comments: –

Summary of internet: ~ 270 Mb remaining

Summary of suits and radios: –

Summary of Hab operations: day off

Summary of GreenHab operations: –

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Fred working on their experiments.

Summary of RAMM operations: the muon detector of Sophie is remotely controlled from the Hab

Summary of health and safety issues: –

Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: –

Sol Summary – March 18th

Crew 190 Sol Summary Report
18March2018
Sol 7

Summary Title:
Chilly day.

Michael Saint-Guillain (XO)

Mission Status:
Ready to continue simulation on Sol 8, 08:00

Sol Activity Summary:
10:00 Gym
10:30 Breakfast
10:50 Relaxing
12:30 Lunch
14:00 EVA: muography (Sophie), cartography (Bastien), soil sampling (Maximilien, Frederic), Photos (Mario)
14:00 Food inventory
15:50 Team meeting
17:00 Cleaning
18:00 Report redaction
19:00 CapCom

Look Ahead Plan:
Sol 8:



Notes: EVA (Maximilien, Martin, Ariane, Michael: see EVA request); scientific work for the others.

Sol 8 to sol 12:



Notes: The last days are quite charged, however we still have March 24th in backup.

Anomalies in work:
We spotted many tracks in the desert, had visual contacts with motorbikes.

Weather:
Very windy. Sunny in the afternoon. Cold.

Crew Physical Status:
Better thanks to a longer night ! (Sunday sleep in!)

EVA:
See EVA report.

Reports to be file:
Commander report
Journalist report
EVA#9 request for Sol8
Engineer report
Pictures

Support Requested:
None

Commander Report – March 18th

Today, it was planned to have a day off to relax, make the food inventory, clean up a bit the station and leave on EVA. After waking up, Michael and Sophie began a gym session while others were just relaxing up to midday. After that we had a Sunday lunch composed of mashed potatoes with chicken and compote. Our bellies being fully filled up, five crew members left for an EVA towards “yellow moon” to take soil samples, pictures and exploit the drone (see EVA report). Unfortunately, the weather was too windy and as a consequence it was impossible the fly with the drone. We came back to the Hab at 15h47 and we started to clean our living place. Shannon came to spoke with us about tracks found in the desert. This morning we have seen motorbikes and probably ATVs riding off road.

Tonight we will have the dinner and a board game time to strengthen the team spirit.

Concerning the food inventory, we will need some food supplies. It would be really appreciated if a space ship can bring us these food supplies.

Regarding the station, a part from the MDRS aeration felt. During the EVA, we tried to dismantle the wheel of the broken rover. Unfortunately, the tools provided do not fit.

Sol Summary – Marth 18th

Today, it was planned to have a day off to relax, make the food inventory, clean up a bit the station and leave on EVA. After waking up, Michael and Sophie began a gym session while others were just relaxing up to midday. After that we had a Sunday lunch composed of mashed potatoes with chicken and compote. Our bellies being fully filled up, five crew members left for an EVA towards “yellow moon” to take soil samples, pictures and exploit the drone (see EVA report). Unfortunately, the weather was too windy and as a consequence it was impossible the fly with the drone. We came back to the Hab at 15h47 and we started to clean our living place. Shannon came to spoke with us about tracks found in the desert. This morning we have seen motorbikes and probably ATVs riding off road.

Tonight we will have the dinner and a board game time to strengthen the team spirit.

Concerning the food inventory, we will need some food supplies. It would be really appreciated if a space ship can bring us these food supplies.

Regarding the station, a part from the MDRS aeration felt. During the EVA, we tried to dismantle the wheel of the broken rover. Unfortunately, the tools provided do not fit.

Astronomy Report – March 17th

Name: Sophie Wuyckens Crew: 190
date: 3/17/2018

Sky Conditions: Clear but sometines some clouds

Wind Conditions: High wind all the day long

Observation Start Time: No observation

Observation End Time: –

Summary: I didn’t dare to use the the observatory today because the wind was very violent.

GreenHab Report – March 17th

GreenHab report for Sol6 :

Crewmember’s name: Frédéric Peyrusson (Biologist)

Date 17/03/2018

Environmental control:

Ambient with door open.

Shade cloth on.

Fan on, without cooling.

Average temperatures: 23°C

Low: 8,4°C

High: 32,8°C

Hours of supplemental light: 0 hours

Changes to crops: No change

Daily water usage for crops: 5 gal

Time(s) of watering for crops: 3

Moringa research observations: ?

Changes to research plants: N/A

Everything went fine, seeds of radish and coriander are now emerging. Mint plants supplemented with hydrogels seem to better tolerate transplantation in various soils than control plants.
All other plants have been watered.

Support/supplies needed: N/A

Journalist Report – March 17th

Apart from each crew member’s experiment, there are many things to do at the MDRS. Cooking, cleaning and the usual chores are of course part of the job, like in any shared living space. But the MDRS being quite a special place to live, as it is, after all, located on Mars, there are additional and essential tasks that need to be completed every day. Taking care of the GreenHab and its plants is an essential one – indeed, they are our life support, producing both our food and our oxygen, and they therefore require exceptional care. However, the MDRS is a complex system, with many variables. If one of them fails, the whole station’s well-being is compromised. The role of the crew engineer, Bastien, is therefore also essential : every day, he checks all the systems, machines, reservoirs, electrical devices, batteries and engines, inside and outside the station, that allow its optimal functioning. His is truly a full-time job. And despite this, Bastien has been involved in quite a serious and time-consuming project of aerial 3D cartography. With his drone, and a computer program designed for this purpose, he has been criss-crossing rectangular areas of terrain, taking dozens of pictures from all angles, which are then automatically recombined in a tedious hours-long process, giving a 3D map of the area, which can then be assembled with surrounding maps to create maps of whole regions.

Michael, our XO and an operations research specialist, has also been working quite hard : his main project concerns something called robust planning under uncertainty, which means that he has been working on a dynamic, adaptable, and predictive schedule for the whole crew. This planning program, coded on his computer, has been designed by Michael from scratch and is still getting improved day by day. Indeed, the point of such a program is to adapt the schedule to unpredicted (and unpredictable) events that slow down or accelerate a particular crew member’s experiment. Since all experiments are related in some way (by equipment, place and/or time), a change in one experiment will often impact many other experiments – this makes for quite a complex system, which needs to be updated daily. Michael has therefore been taking daily notes of our progress, and integrating them into his program to generate the next days’ improved schedule.

As you may think, Michael is quite the computer enthusiast. You can imagine his delight when he realised that the small remote-controlled linux-powered rover called Phoenix, made by members of the NorCal Mars Society, didn’t work and needed troubleshooting. Yesterday evening, he got down to understanding where the problem was, and started working in a trance-like state, measuring voltages, connecting cables and reading and writing code that seems like gibberish to the untrained eye. In the end, he understood that the problem was two-fold : on the one hand, the rover’s internal clock was unsynchronized with the clock of the computer which controlled it, a simple but hard to detect error. On the other hand, there were some battery issues which needed to be resolved, and after 24 hours, the rover was finally set free in front of the base this afternoon, where it performed some test loops.

We are now fully equipped, with Bastien’s drone and NorCal’s rover, to inspect the station from the outside without having to go through the tedious process of getting fully suited up and going through a decompression period in the exit vault. Another step forward for our Martian colony!

EVA #7 Report – March 17th

EVA #7 , Sol6
Crew members: Mario Sundic (EVA leader), Ariane Sablon, Maximilien Richald, Michael Saint-Guillain

Location:
Near the Hab: 518200E-4250750N
Near Zubrin’s head: 518500E-4248500N

Objectives:
Mario: Pictures for Journalist’s Report and photo a a mountain for Sophie’s muography (potential experimental site).
Maximilien: Soil sampling
Ariane: Checking of Martin Roumain’s drug samples previously disposed around the MDRS
Michael: support

Operations:
09:28 entering the sas
09:31 end of depressurization
09:34 departure rovers
09:44 arrival at Zubrin’s head
10:06 arrival at the base of the targeted mountain
10:15 departure form mountain site
10:31 soil sampling
10:37 departure with rovers
10:47 arrival MDRS
10:50 pictures MDRS
10:53 check of Martin’s samples
10:57 entering the sas and pressurization

Narrative:
I am Michael Saint-Guillain, and I am writing this report on behalf of the EVA leader Mario Sundic. We entered the sas in time to start the EVA at 9:30. This was our first EVA in the South of MDRS. It is quite surprising to see how the landscape can be slightly different down there compared to the North sites. I personally totally LOVED the landscapes near Zubrin’s head. Totally Martian, as far as I know. After driving the rovers towards the targeted site, we walked for a rough hour, between the hills, mountains and cliffs… Amazing. I would have spend the entire day there. Unfortunately, the schedule (as well as the objectives) had to be respected, and we proceeded to the various soil samplings and photo shootings (required by Sophie for her project of muon detector). Back at the MDRS, we finally checked Martin’s drug sampling (which he disposed outside the MDRS a couple of days ago) as required and entered the sas, our head filled with Martian landscapes.

Vehicles
Curiosity & Spirit rovers