Journalist Report – December 17th

Crew 201 Journalist Report 17-Dec-2018

The Martian Chronicles

[SOL 2] – Clear out before entering the Hab.

¡Tururú Tururú! Don’t push too hard man, my spacesuit is big and heavy and I am learning how to move around! What will we find outside? Will adventure find us today? What hardships may we find while conquering this wild world? This are some of the questions we pondered while setting for the first time our astronaut helmet and venturing into Mars…

MDRS Crew 201 – MEx-1

Life in other planets is exciting. You prepare mentally and physically for whatever you may find and tackle all problems that can occur without being scared. And so, this is exactly how we start our days on Mars, talking about the different activities we planned the night before with a delicious breakfast.

We had our briefing on how to survive and upkeep the station, the basic needs for a first time Martian. We covered from the use of our space bathroom to the delicate care of the GreenHab, every part of the Hab and the mission needs to be carefully checked to avoid accidents within the crew members or worse.

Life in other planets is pretty regular. You have to wake up at a set time, cook, have clean clothes and wash your dishes. You also want to sweep your back deck so the Martian dust doesn’t ruin your clean hab. Our five-star chef Walter has the support of one of the crew members every night in something we called MARSter Chef (Pat Pending), this certainly helps to keep the morale of the crew. Last night dinner was shelf stable Chili con carne, yummy, it’s really hard to find a better dish in the Fourth planet from the Sun.

Today we had our first EVA training with spacesuits. Every crew member had to experience the hardship of getting ready, depressurize and to drive the rovers. We originally planned to go out in groups of four; however, due to a problem with Spirit and Opportunity, we had to do a plan B, three EVAs of two crew members. The result was madness in the airlock entrance that reminded us of rush hour at Mexico City’s subway.

We visited Marble Ritual, a simple location near the base but with all the difficulties of having suits with limited mobility but the beauty of Mars. We tested both spacesuits kinds and had the chance to understand which one was more efficient for the tasks ahead. Boots and flight suits covered in Martian dust helped us understand what the 200 crews before us experienced on their first days.

I have to tell you, dear reader, the EVAs were exciting but not fun, knowing the limitations of the suits now we are concerned about a few things: How will we use tech with buttons designed for Earth? How can we make tools that are not ill-suited for our gloves? What will we need to do to not die trying?

Life in other planets is rigorously planned to minimize risk and maximize the efficiency of the crew ensuring their safety. This testbed is our readiness poll to become a true multiplanetary species.

MEx-1 continuará informando.

Genaro Grajeda López, MDRS Crew 201 Co-Journalist

EVA Report – December 17th

Crew 201 EVA Report 17-Dec-2018

EVA #1-3

Author: Carlos Mariscal

Purpose of EVA: Training

Start time EVA 1: 13:30

End time EVA 1: 14:35

Start time EVA 2: 14:40

End time EVA 2: 14:45

Start time EVA 3: 14:50

End time EVA 3: 15:40


We had planned a couple of smooth EVAs to train the crew in the usage of the rovers and the suits. The plan was to have two teams of 4 people each (2 members would do 2 EVAs), however, once outside the Hab, the teams realized the Opportunity and Spirit rovers had low charge levels and the only one with full charge was Curiosity. After running in circles for some minutes, we decided to completely change the plans, we set our main priority as have all the team members trained and have their chance do to EVA.

Then we set the new plan as having three 2-people teams and use wisely the Curiosity rover. All three teams would do a short drive to Marble Ritual, explore 20 minutes at most and come back so the next team could do the same. From having planned two quite long EVAs with estimated end time at 16:30, we had three quite short (and efficient EVAs) of around 40 minutes each instead, having the last one ended at 15:30.

A quick troubleshoot from MDRS Director seemed to have solved the issue, but at the moment of writing this report, the rovers are not charging again.

We still don’t know what the problem is, which worries us a little; we’ll keep in touch with MDRS Director in order to find out what is happening.

Destination: Marble Ritual

Coordinates (use UTM NAD27 CONUS):



– Genaro Grajeda

– César Serrano


– Tania Robles

– Federico Martínez


– Carlos Mariscal

– Walter Calles

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map

Mode of travel: Curiosity rover (all 3 EVAs)

Mission Plan – December 17th

Crew 201 Mission Plan 17-Dec-2018

Mars Desert Research Station

Mission Plan

Crew 201 – Misión de Exploración-1 (MEx-1)

Dec 15th – 30th, 2018

Crew Members:

Commander: Tania Robles

Executive Officer: Juan Carlos Mariscal

Crew Engineer: Cesar Serrano

Health and Safety Officer/Journalist: Genaro Grajeda

Crew Astronomer/Scientist: Federico Martínez

GreenHab Officer/Journalist: Walter Calles

Mission Plan:

MEx-1 is a Mexican initiative that seeks to encourage the interest of the general population, industry, academia, and government of Mexico about the benefits of space exploration and its applications.

This through the creation of the first Mexican program of missions in MDRS conformed by a team of astronauts and a ground support on Earth. MEx-1 is a mission that had the previous support of an aerospace doctor and specialist psychologists to evaluate the physical and mental conditions of astronauts prior to the establishment of tasks and workloads of the missions.

The general objectives of Mex-1 are:

· Integration of a national multidisciplinary team that provides necessary support to the astronauts’ activities that will be carried out before and after the mission.

· Document and generate the necessary historical information to be able to organize easily later iterations of the mission.

· Generate media impact necessary to attract and encourage the participation of children and youth in space activities in Mexico.

· Encourage students and entrepreneurs to develop business activities focused on the creation and integration of projects that benefit and/or use space or high technology resources related to space exploration.

Crew Projects:


Title: The Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory

Author(s): Betel Martinez, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: To know the psychological state and mental fatigue of the astronauts through the daily filling of the mental fatigue questionnaire.

Description: Prior to the mission, the crew of MEx-1 was evaluated psychologically as a team and individually by professional psychologists to learn about different aspects such as their personality factors, cognitive functions, physical state, group interaction, cooperation, resilience, emotional states, reaction to the solution of problems and their socio-emotional development.

During the mission, the crew will perform the daily filling of a metal fatigue test that will be delivered later to the evaluating psychologists. They, from comparing the results with the scheduling and recording of the daily activities, will know the affectations and changes that occurred during the mission in each of the profiles of the astronauts.

Rationale: Crews of astronauts are previously evaluated psychologically multiple times to know if they are suitable to perform their work in space. On a trip to Mars, their profiles will be analyzed prior to the mission and from there establish the routines and daily tasks depending on their physical and mental states.



Title: Crew Wellness Experiment

Author(s): Carlos Salicrup, Genaro Grajeda

Objectives: Measure and document the crew’s weight, water consumption, and pressure variation during the mission.

Description: HSO officer will measure 3 key parameters during the same time of the morning to corroborate the wellness of crew 201. Parameters to be measured and documented are member’s weight, daily water consumption, and blood pressure.

Rationale: Good health and wellness are key to the survival of small or large missions. A healthy crew member will perform as expected by the mission standards and will continue to do so during the duration of the mission whatever it may be. With the controlled data analysis of the crew, a doctor can measure the changes over small periods of time and suggest ways to better upkeep the health of the crew.



Title: Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Pointing

Author(s): Genaro Grajeda, Federico Martínez

Objectives: Point a VSAT with 3D printed tools

Description: MEx-1 will install, point, test and validate one-way connectivity of Free-To-Air Channels from up to three geostationary satellites located within the reach of the North America region with 3D printed tools in order to experience the difficulties and hardships of intensive work during regular Martian infrastructure building missions.

Rationale: Early astronauts arriving on Mars will need to install infrastructure to sustain early Martian colony activities and operations. Through the testing of 3D printed tools and analog space suits, the process of antenna installation, pointing and other equipment will be a difficult experience. Using this test bed, it will be possible to develop modern tools, and activities to facilitate the astronaut experience in Mars.

EVAs: 4 to 5 EVAs; will be performed over the height of the HAB simulating the classical way of infrastructure installation on Earth for a large coverage area. Location for VSAT installation must be flat and stable with no line of sight obstacles to the selected satellite(s) (Eutelsat 113WA, Eutelsat 117WA and Galaxy 15) and simulate the methodology for current infrastructure installation (Cellphone Radio Bases, regular Radio Access Networks for Internet of Things Networks with multidirectional antennas of 22 to 50 dBs).


Title: 3D Printing in space exploration

Author(s): Federico Martínez

Objectives: The main objective of using 3D printing is to provide us with personalized tools for our VSat pointing project and spare parts. This experiment will provide support on the construction of a rover prototype as well, and an analysis of the Hab will be done to use this technology to provide daily use supplies.

Description: 3D printing is becoming a common and a powerful tool when a unique and made in situ hardware is needed, it gives us the advantage of reducing time and costs, and the variety and quality of materials we can use nowadays it’s becoming bigger and better every year, helping different industries on their innovative and manufacturer process.

Rationale: The transportation of cargo when talking about space exploration, have been a topic since space race has begun, and now companies and space agencies are exploring 3D printing to save cargo, sending a 3d printer and its working material instead of a full kit of tools or spare parts.



Title: Engaging space to the people

Author(s): Crew 201& Crew 187

Objectives: Generate audiovisual content that will be published to increase the awareness of the space sector and the interest of young students and professionals in space exploration from Latin America.

Description: Crew 201 will record videos and take pictures of all of the activities and actions inside the Hab and during EVAs. Then on Earth the material will be edited and used for the subsequent creation of communication channels on different platforms: video, writing and as audio.

Rationale: Some of the most important space programs and agencies have a special and noted interest in science and technology outreach of their activities and missions. This to increase the interest of the population on space activities funded by the government. By doing this, they look to achieve two main objectives: create awareness on the young generation about the possibilities of doing a satisfactory career in the STEM area focused in space, and in showing the taxpayers about the importance of their monetary contribution for space exploration.



Title: Validation of electronics architecture and communication protocols for an exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Validate the function of electronic components in hostile (low) temperature conditions. Validate communication protocols for exploration vehicles in the Martian environment.

Description: Exploration and support vehicles are required for space missions, as well, electronics and communications components are an essential part of such vehicles, so prove and validate new technologies to assure the success of the mission must be a special point of interest in the planning and design of space vehicles.

Rationale: Communications are the base of information exchange, therefore, the electronics used for them must be reliable. In space missions, the development of more efficient, reliable and faster protocols for data transfer, as well as more powerful and smaller electronic components must be constant.

EVAs: 1 EVA. To prove the requirements of distance and computational power of communication protocols, as well as behaviour of electronic components. Required terrain: – Preferably an area with hills or medium-high rock formations.


Title: Behaviour of Artificial Vision algorithms for Autonomous Navigation

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Test the quality of the images obtained by given cameras. Test the efficiency of AV algorithms and tools to identify samples of Martian rocks based on their colour and size. Test the efficiency of stereo vision to estimate distances using bidimensional images

Description: Artificial vision is currently the most important perception method and is the input for many artificial intelligence algorithms for autonomous navigation. Along with other kinds of sensors, such as ultrasonic and laser, artificial vision allows identifying objects based on their characteristics to be identified, according to their importance in navigation and mapping.

Rationale: When exploring other planets, autonomous navigation mitigates the communications delay caused for the distance to Earth. In order for a robot to be able to explore unknown terrains without being dependent of external commands or information obtained via satellite, it must be capable of recognizing and locate itself in the environment, reason why efficient methods for getting and processing images are fundamental. The AV algorithm is part of the development of an exploration rover.

EVAs: 1 EVA. Required terrain: Area with high rock formations, different colour tones of the ground and medium-sized rocks.


Title: Prototype and mechanical testing of Exploration rover

Author(s): César Serrano, Juan Carlos Mariscal

Objectives: Prove the expected behave of the mechanical systems of the Rover.

Description: Since 2012 it has been creating a big Project related to the design and building of space robotics exploration. Today, there exists the experience and expertise of developing Low-Cost RoThe last built prototypes have been related in mining and sampling return. Taking into count this scope, in MEx-1 will validate the function and evaluate the behavior of the mechanisms studied and implemented in our robotic solution. The details of geometry, suspension system, motor housings, wheels, leveling, and assembly were taking into count for the preparation of the preliminary and future designs of this kind of robotic.

Rationale: The developing of an exploration Rover, such as Curiosity and Opportunity, is focused perfectly in the study of the red planet, due to, having a technology of this type helping the astronaut, will provide further risky places, collecting useful data for the understanding of the planet, and futures missions in the planet.

EVAs: 1 EVA. Required terrain: A flat place, with transitions of lightly rocky floor and hard into a muddy one and vice versa.


Title: Martian Soil Analysis for usage on Greenhab

Author(s): Walter Calles, Makiah Eustice (Crew 200)

Objectives: Explore, collect and analyze multiple soil samples on the Martian soil on MDRS to test their capability for plants seeding and growing on the Greenhab. Up to 5 different soil samples will be mixed with different combinations of organic material to see which can be used as Greenhab ground.

Description: As part of the Greenhab activities, we’ll explore multiple locations with different types of soil during the EVAs. We will collect up to 5 different soil samples to test their attributes for plants seeding and growing. By mixing those samples with different amounts of Greenhab soil and some organic material, we’ll try to grow different types of crops on the multiple types of soil. After 5 days of continuous monitoring of the samples, we’ll determine which combination(s) of soil and organic material present the best results. Those samples will be taken to the science dome and analyzed in order to characterize their properties. Every location where the samples were collected will be marked on the MDRS map and marked as fertile or not.

Rationale: The idea of using real Martian soil for seeding and growing purposes is something that could be seen as a huge milestone to ensure future sustainable long-duration missions on Mars. Even though Earth’s soil samples are very different from the ones found on Mars, testing new ways to mix Martian-like desert samples can give a good overview of future next steps for Martian exploration.

EVAs: 1 EVA long enough to reach up to 5 locations with different types of soil samples for recollection.

Commander Report – December 17th

Crew 201 Commander Report 17-Dec-2018

When I found out that I would return to Mars the same year, the first thing I did was get excited by the new propulsion system that would quickly bring me back to the red planet after having visited it for the first time at the beginning of the year with a crew that represented all of Latin America.

This new occasion is different, Misión de Exploración-1(MEx-1) is confirmed by Mexican engineers who have dedicated years of their life to work in different areas of science and technology in our country. We met more than two years ago in a congress of the International Astronautical Federation. There we knew that we all shared the same dream, being astronauts … going to Mars.

Here we are, Here I am, in the front of a crew formed by leaders in their field but committed with the objective of the mission. Each of them has different personalities that make them unique and different for their tasks, experiments, and daily activities.

I am the only woman, the youngest and the Commander. For all those girls who read this: come on, you can do it, don´t be afraid.

Before coming to Mars, we trained for hours about how to work as a team and to learn how to solve problems and emergencies. All this worked because despite that they are still learning how everything works, each one has done a good job and fulfilled the tasks that are assigned to them. Thanks to our Ground Crew for the previous support.

The mission has many objectives and experiments but I trust in my crew and they trust in me. Everything goes according to plan and without any incident. In the next few days we will receive a rocket with some more instruments for the experiments, meanwhile, we will perform other previous tasks.

Tania Robles, Crew 201 Commander

Operations Report – December 17th

Crew 201 Operations Report 17-Dec-2018


Name of person filing report: César Augusto Serrano Baza

Non-nominal systems: Generator Autostart

Notes on non-nominal systems: None

Generator (hours run): 5:30 pm last night to around 9 am today. Today started at 4:20 pm.

Solar— SOC 64%

Diesel Reading – 88%

Propane Reading – 20%

Ethanol Free Gasoline – N/A gallons.

Water (Axillary tank) – 0 gallons

Water (static tank) – High Level, around 535 -gallons

Axillary to Static tank transfer– no

Gallons transferred: 0

Water in GreenHab – High level (90%)

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

Water Meter: 6

Toilet tank emptied: YES

Deimos rover used: no, still not functional

Hours: 0

Beginning charge: –

Ending charge: –

Currently charging: no

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR


Beginning charge:

Ending charge:

Currently charging:

Spirit rover used: Not used

Hours: 63

Beginning charge:68%

Ending charge: 68%

Currently charging: NOT CHARGING

Opportunity rover used: Not used

Hours: 43.9

Beginning charge: 75%

Ending charge: 75%

Currently charging: NOT CHARGING

Curiosity rover used: Used for EVA Training. 1 couple each 25 minutes

Hours: 59.6

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 80%

Currently charging: YES
Notes on rovers: Curiosity Rover was used today for the EVA training for the whole crew. The rovers Opportunity and Spirit were not charging during the day, so we could not use them.

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: 0

Notes on ATVs: ATVs were taken out of active service and are now parked away from the station.

HabCar used and why, where? Not used.

CrewCar used and why, where? Not used.

General notes and comments: We did a Training EVA in the place called marble ritual

Summary of internet: Nothing to report.

Summary of suits and radios: We used the Suits (8, 9, 10 and 4) for the EVA training. They were cleaned by the inside after using them and charging.

Summary of Hab operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Cool down with an airflow to keep the temperature lower than 70° Fahrenheit. Director will bring new sticky pads.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of RAM operations: Director reset the circuit breakers. The RAM still not charging the rovers

Summary of any observatory issues: Musk Solar observatory – Nominal. Robotic Observatory – Nothing to report.

Summary of health and safety issues: The smoke detectors and CO2 has been activated in every place, except in the musk observatory due to there are not any of them. In the science lab, the CO2 detectors were activated.

Questions, concerns, and requests to Mission Support: We asked the Director for technical support for the Rovers. At the time of the report, Opportunity and Spirit are not charging and the cause still unknown.

Greenhab Report – December 17th

Crew 201 Greenhab Report 17-Dec-2018

Greenhab Officer: Walter Calles

Environmental Control:


Cooling w/ ambient air

40% Shade Cloth on

Average Temperatures:

Low: -4.°C

High: 37°C

Hours of Supplemental Light: 5

Daily Water Usage of Crops: 3 gallons

Water in Blue Tank (lbs): 90%

Times of Watering for Crops: 1500

Changes to crops:

Tomatoes starting to show some progress on their growing.

Recently planted baby greens starting to grow.


Light water to all the plants performed today. Humidity levels are in a good shape.

The big blue growing pot is full of bugs. Tomorrow I’m adding more sticky papers and replacing the existing ones.

Tomatoes keep growing. Probably the heating is working. Will keep tracking on this progress.

Baby greens starting to grow. Will keep them wet enough and review their progress.

Harvest: NONE

Sol Summary – December 17th

Crew 201 Sol Summary 17-Dec-2018

Sol Summary
Sol: 2
Summary Title: First EVAs (and troubleshoot)

Author’s name: Juan Carlos Mariscal

Mission Status: Systems are all working in nominal status, we had a medium obstacle when doing the training EVAs since we realized they didn’t charge the rovers overnight.

Sol Activity Summary: Today we had our training EVA and learned some electrical troubleshooting and emergency workaround, teamwork and coordination were key. In addition, we started our daily workout routine.

We are working as well on the inventory of medicines and food.

Look Ahead Plan: Now we must be very careful of the rover charging process and the EVA planning in case we have more trouble with the rovers

What’s the plan for tomorrow?

We’ll first do our daily workout, set up all the experiments supplies and some inside activities such as programming, but mainly, we’ll celebrate a crew member’s birthday! Cesar is 27 tomorrow in Mars 🙂

Anomalies in work: We realized that the RAM did not charge the rovers overnight, which meant a major change in our training EVA since we had to change our whole schedule and go out in couples, instead of groups of four people.

Weather: Cloudy/Cold

Crew Physical Status: All crew members are safe and healthy. Ironically, our HSO got a minor wound in a finger; all good.

EVA: All crew members went to Marble Ritual to do some exploration activities

Reports to be filled:
-Operations Report SOL1 (correction)
-Operations Report SOL2
-Greenhab Report
-Journalist Report
-Commander´s Report
-EVA Report
-Mission Plan
-HSO Checklist

Support Requested: We requested support from the Director in order to know what could have happened with the power in the RAM. She restarted the circuit breakers; we’ll keep on monitoring.

Carlos, XO

Operations Report – December 16th

Crew 201 Operations Report 16-Dec-2018

SOL: 1

Name of person filing report: César Augusto Serrano Baza

Non-nominal systems: Generator Autostart

Notes on non-nominal systems: None

Generator (hours run): Around 5:30 pm last night to around 9 am today.

Solar— SOC 81%

Diesel Reading – 95%.

Propane Reading – 23%

Ethanol Free Gasoline – N/A gallons. 4 GALLONS

Water (Axillary tank) – 0 gallons
Water (static tank) – 550 gallons (refilled today).
Axillary to Static tank transfer– no
Gallons transferred: 0
Water in GreenHab – Tank is 100% (refilled today).
Water (loft) – Static to Loft Pump used – yes
Water Meter: 6

Toilet tank emptied: NO

Deimos rover used: no, still not functional
Hours: 0
Beginning charge: –
Ending charge: –
Currently charging: no

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:

Spirit rover used: YES
Hours: 63
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 68%
Currently charging: YES

Opportunity rover used: YES
Hours: 43.9
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 75%
Currently charging: YES

Curiosity rover used: YES
Hours: 59.6
Beginning charge: 100%
Ending charge: 83%
Currently charging: YES

Notes on rovers: Rovers were used today for the crew training. Deimos has been moved off the campus..

# Hours the ATVs were used today: 0
Notes on ATVs: ATVs were taken out of active service and are now parked away from the station.

HabCar used and why, where? Yes, used for refilling the static tank water and the GreenHab water (1 time each tank) to Hanksville gas station.
CrewCar used and why, where? Last crew took it with them.

General notes and comments: We said goodbye to crew 200.

Summary of internet: Nothing to report. We had some problems getting online with comms. We were sending the information but it seemed that comms was not receiving it on time.

Summary of suits and radios: We had a quick training about how to wear the space suit.

Summary of Hab operations: Nothing to report.

Summary of GreenHab operations: Keep water in the plants. Director planted additional crops.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: We installed a heater in the Dome, working as expected.

Summary of RAMM operations: Director cleaned and organized it today.

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