Journalist Report – April 24th

Our crew successfully transferred control of the Habitat from MDRS 178 and began preparations for our stay. Day one consisted primarily of equipment check out in in situ training with our Rovers, space suits, navigation, and surveying gear. The rookies have adapted admirably under the guidance of our veteran instructors.
After a resupply from the advance landers preparations for our first EVA began. It began innocuously enough, with our crew in high spirits heading out to examine some targets previously identified by martian rovers and satellite imagery as high interest. We set off to seek our research fortunes in the Martian landscape with all crew members in high spirits and no inkling of the trouble that lay ahead…
While surveying for signs of ancient life in the desert landscape one crew member suffered an accident requiring us to abort the EVA and return to base. Fortunately, the skilled hands of crew 179 put the MD in MDRS and managed to keep the situation form getting out of hand. Our crew member was successfully evacuated from the martian plane and returned to the habitat without further incident. We have many more EVAs planned for our stay here and the crew is confident today’s emergency will be our last…
Prepared by Dana Levin, Crew Journalist

Crew Photos – April 20th

Martian expedition




Belgium in Utah


Maybe rain at the station


Ninja pizza


Astronaut wandering

Journalist Report – April 20th

Journalist report Sol 10 – 170420

Mathieu « Mitch » Vander Donckt

Crew Journalist and Scientist

Crew 178 – UCL to Mars


Today comes with great news! Especially for me because it is directly liked to my researches, but also for those who want to know more about the geology of Mars. When humans first explored Mars, decades before sending astronauts, using probes, flybys, and rovers, their main goal was to find liquid water or prove that liquid water flowed on the planet in the past. That is the first step in the search for life, because life as we know it cannot appear nor thrive without the presence of this liquid so common on Earth but hard to find here. One of those rovers is of particular interest to me: Curiosity. Sent in 2011 to Gale Crater – not so far from here –, and staying operational during several years instead of one, it achieved by far more than what was expected. Its mission: study the habitability of Mars. One of its tools: an X-Ray diffractometer, able to analyse the structure of minerals at nanoscale level. A powerful device that validated the theory of presence of water in past Mars.

This morning I was flushed with excitement after the landing of the new package sent by Orbital Convoy. A Bruker diffractometer, small sized but powerful, will help us make new discoveries. Unlike Curiosity, we can cover great distances and make several analyses a day. Last week we explored our environment, taking samples of rock, soil or dust. Now with this instrument we will be able to assess the habitability of Mars with more efficiency than a rover, answer questions about the formation of this planet, and look for vital resources with a view to colonize the planet.

With our journey coming to an end, every member of the crew is aware that we need to terminate our fieldwork. Boss improved our communications outside the Hab, which will probably serve to next crews. Hoover marked the dangerous places around the station to improve our security, only Tarzan didn’t get the concept and tried to fall off a cliff, without major damage. After many tests, Dips is finally ready to detect muons, a cosmic radiation. From what I heard, Tarzan proved that we will need a good processing of our waste water in order to grow our food –it’s no good to pee in a bowl of rice. Patch finished her measurements and found contrasting geological layers in the underground that will help us understand how much ancient Mars was different. And finally, Coach still enjoys making us sweat.

Being on our found reserve, we came back to a what I call a student diet: pasta and (homemade) pizza – not so bad, Tarzan is Italian.

In a couple of days, we will welcome the next crew and share our experience with them. Bad and good habits, the maintenance of the station and all they need to know to survive in the Martian wilderness.

Sol Summary – April 20th

Crew 178 Daily Summary Report 20APR2017
 MDRS Daily Summary Report for sol 10
Summary Title: 11th EVA
Mission Status:  Good

Sol Activity Summary:

08.00:   Breakfast
13.00: Lunch
15.00: Muscle wasting exercises experiment


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

09.00: UTM NAD27 12S 4255500-518500
Diffractometer study: sample collection
Telecommunication relays experiment
Testing and installing sound beacons

Weather:  Sunny

Crew Physical Status: Everyone is fine

Look Ahead Plan: Last EVA and concluding experiments

Reports to be file: Operation Report, Daily Summary Report, EVA 11 Report, Journalist Report

Support Requested:

EVA Report – April 20th

Crew 178 EVA #11 Report 20 APR 2017

Weather: very sunny
Temperature: around 24°C
Location: UTM NAD27 4253000 – 519000
Duration: 240 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)
–    Collecting new soil samples
–    Telecommunication: final tests of mixed omni-and-unidirectional telecommunication relays
–    Collecting succeeded.
–    4 of the 5 tests succeeded. More details in telecommunication report tomorrow.

Crew Photos – April 18th



A bit of geology.




Com experiment.


Looking at Mars.


Hello from Mars.

EVA Report – April 18th

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 Journalist)
–       Collecting new soil samples
–       Telecommunication: installation of omni-and-unidirectional telecommunication relays
–       Collecting succeeded.
–       Telecommunication relays installation failed due to too heavy winds. Reported to tomorrow.

Commander Report – April 18th

Today was a rather common day in the schedules. Breakfast at 8 am, followed by an EVA from 9 to 11:59 am with Mathieu, Calogero and myself to install my telecommunication relays and continue signal tests and recordings, and to collect new soil samples for the Mathieu’s experiment, together with the logistic help of Calogero. Unfortunately, winds were too strong to work properly on the top of the hills with the telecommunication relays. This part of EVA is then reported to tomorrow. About Mathieu, he was still able to collect his new soil samples. Back from EVA, we enjoyed culinary talents of Calogero to taste rice with vegetables and a home-made pizza. During the afternoon, every crew member continued to work on his experiment in the Hab for the last EVAs of the next days.

Sol Summary – April 18th

MDRS Daily Summary Report for sol 8

Summary Title: 9th EVA

Mission Status:  Good

Sol Activity Summary:

8.00:   Breakfast
10.00: Muscle wasting exercises
13.00: Lunch


Experiment reports redaction

10.30: UTM NAD27 12S 4251500-518500
Telecommunication relays test
Diffractometer study: data collection

Sunny and strong wind

Crew Physical Status
Everyone is fine

Look Ahead Plan:
EVA + Experiments

Reports to be file: Operation Report, Daily Summary Report, Commander Report, EVA 9 Report

Support Requested:

Astronomy Report – April 17th

Hello Peter,

We tried yesterday night to focus on shining stars. We used the black focus first, then the gold one, we understand the way it is supposed to work, but here is the problem : the image is never sharp, and when we defocus the star become « twisted » in one direction. To illustrate the problem, I joined a sketch of our problem. The quality of the draw is awfull, I’m sorry, we can’t use internet so I did what I could. Mathieu thinks this problem is well known and could be explained by the misalignment of mirrors. Would you know what problem it is? What would it be caused to? And what could we do to fix it?

Best regards,

Quentin and Mathieu