Crew 184 Journalist Report
05 December 2017
Title Crisis Management
Narrative Some people say you only really arrived to a new home, when you managed your first crisis and you didn’t run away. Well, that means we have finally arrived on Mars. We woke up to a bunch of problems, which could have had a dramatic effect on the livelihood of crew number 184.
Crew Engineer Hunt woke up early today and was the first to realize, that our internal water tank in our top floor had reached a critical low level. This tank fuels our kitchen, the bath and the toilet – it is the heart of our Martian shelter. It is just below the roof, because it uses gravity to deliver water to the various outlets below. At first we thought, our pump was defective, that enables the whole operation.
That conclusion was plausible, because shortly after crisis number one we detected crisis number two. Our battery, which is fueled by a generator and the solar panels at their respective working hours, was down to five percent. Commander Horn and Crew Engineer Hunt, still in his pajamas, observed the devices and detected a leaking oil tank.
Was our failing energy source the reason for the block in the water delivery? And could the Officer Hunt fix the oil leak and subsequently fix the hab? Time was crucial, because we only had limited reserve water bottles and the toilet was also relying on the tank. From personal experience I could tell, holding back on business at the space-loo makes it impossible to stay operational.
The night was awfully cold leading to Sol 4 and so we came up to a new possible reason of the failing water system. Maybe the pipes leading into the hab were frozen? We checked them and although we couldn’t peek inside we could feel how cold they were. The sun still hadn’t turned around far enough to warm up the external water tank. We never had been so anxious for the hot giant star to move faster to hit Mars with a wave of heat.
After two hours of trouble shooting and learning more about our life-sustaining infrastructure we contacted mission control and requested assistance on our problems. We were assured, that we were on the right track and that we will life another day. After we closed the oil leak, which was caused by cap, which wasn’t screwed tight enough, the battery gained quickly power. And once the sun turned the water flooded into our hab.
Because of the crisis situation we had to push our second EVA’s two to three hours back. Me and a crew of three, led by Science Officer Akash Trivedi, were already in the pre-breathing chamber, when we heard the good news of the resolved problems. We could start with a light heart to our mission to collect soil and rock samples.
Akash Trivedi is one of to European members of our crew. The Briton is well connected to the university of Oxford, which asked him to do a so called Matryoshka project. He received satellite data for interesting surfaces on Mars and now wants to collect samples from exactly these spots. Like a Russian doll both elements will complete one another.
For the first time we took the rover out and as we reached our destination climbed on hills to collect the sources. It was fun. The heavy helmet and backpack didn’t really hold me back. But I must say carrying the camera equipment and the necessity to be faster at certain spots and staying longer to have enough flesh for the footage is demanding. It sounds contradicting, but creating great movie footage makes often only sense for the filmmaker.
Coming back was great, because there was a special treat waiting for us. With restored energy and water, we will have our first shower on Mars. We were holding back on it since the beginning, looking on the water crisis, quite a good exercise to deal with such a shortage. So if you excuse me, I have a date with our shower…
Personal Logbook Today was a fruitful day, but I will be happy when I lay down to sleep. Partly this is due to our busy schedule, to the high demand of the marsonauts life and the challenges of the work.
Because my crew has little to no experience with documentary work, it is also a workshop for them to align with the demands of filmmaking. In a way, they have to be actors, but actors, who play themselves. Once you understand this and the technical requirements of filmmaking you are half way there.
Some are very talented and pure gold. For others I have to explain certain procedures over and over again. And it’s all good and no ones fault. It just makes it a bit harder for me. Which is tough, when you already do four jobs by yourself.
Today I could also do some more photos on film, which made me very content. During the various problems we had to manage I was doing some photography of our polished helmets and suits. I thought I use the calm to cover theses essentials.
Tomorrow I might stay in the hab for a day. I definitely should take a little rest in one of the next days. I think I will make this decision upon the weather forecast. Still super excited to be here, but taking care of my energy level to continue to deliver good pictures.
Thank you very much for your help and attention.
Willie Schumann, Journalist, Crew 184