Astronomy Report – January 2nd

Crew 202 Astronomy Report 02-Jan-2019
Crew Astronomer: Cesare Guariniello

Robotic Telescope Used: MDRS-14
Objects Viewed: Messier 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)

Problems Encountered: Due to the problem with centering, the offset was set at -10.8 minutes RA, -3.5 arcmin Dec.

Commander, MDRS 202

Astronomy Report – January 2nd

Crew 202 Astronomy Report 02-Jan-2019
Crew Astronomer: Cesare Guariniello

Robotic Telescope Used: MDRS-14
Objects Viewed: Messier 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)

Problems Encountered: Due to the problem with centering, the offset was set at -10.8 minutes RA, -3.5 arcmin Dec.

To get the precise offset for that object, I did a 30 seconds exposure in the visible and used the position data to correct on the long take.

Commander, MDRS 202

Operations Report – January 2nd

Crew 202 Operations Report 02-JAN-2019

SOL: 4

Name of person filing report: Kasey Hilton

Non-nominal systems: Spirit rover battery; Power system

Notes on non-nominal systems: Spirit and Curiosity were used today in EVA and Spirit returned with far less battery than Curiosity even though they traveled the same distance in the same conditions; The power system was malfunctioning when the generator was being turned on.

The system inside the ScienceDome was making noises indicating that there was an issue and the system could not switch from the batteries to the generator. As of 19:18 the generator shut off and we are left on battery power until morning. We are limiting the use of electricity until the morning when the sun comes out to recharge the batteries.

Generator (hours run): 16hr 56min; Turned on last night (01Jan2019) at 16:19; Turned off this morning (02Jan2019) around 9:15; Attempted to turn on tonight (02Jan2019) at 17:45, but the generator shut off around 19:00. The generator will not be running overnight.

**Note: I had been recording the number of hours that the generator was not run instead of hours run. The corrected numbers are listed below.

30Dec2018 – 15hr 55min; Turned on at 17:05 on 29Dec2018; Turned off at 9 on 30Dec2018
31Dec2018 – 15hr 22min; Turned on at 18:37 on 30Dec2018; Turned off at 9:58 on 31Dec2018
01Jan2019 – 16hr 5min; Turned on at 17:25 on 31Dec2018; Turned off at 9:30 on 01Jan2019

Solar – SOC 64%

Diesel Reading – 73%

Propane Reading – 52%

Ethanol Free Gasoline – Not in use

Water (auxiliary tank) – Not in use

Water (static tank) – Mostly full, about a foot below the top; 480 gallons

Auxiliary to Static tank transfer – No

Gallons transferred: Not applicable

Water in GreenHab – Mostly full; 250 gallons (assuming that the tank is 300 gallons)

Water (loft) – At level marker 8

Static to Loft Pump used – No

Water Meter: 01397619 units

Toilet tank emptied: No

Deimos rover used: No, still not functional

Hours: Not applicable

Beginning charge: Not applicable

Ending charge: Not applicable

Currently charging: Not applicable

Sojourner rover used: ASSIGNED TO DIRECTOR

Hours: Not applicable

Beginning charge: Not applicable

Ending charge: Not applicable

Currently charging: Not applicable

Spirit rover used: Yes

Hours: 63.9

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 23%

Currently charging: Yes

Opportunity rover used: No; Still out of brake fluid

Hours: 45.4

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 100%

Currently charging: Yes

Curiosity rover used: Yes

Hours: 62.2

Beginning charge: 100%

Ending charge: 50%

Currently charging: Yes

Notes on rovers: Spirit returned with 23% and Curiosity returned with 50% even though both the rovers traveled the same distance in the same amount of time and in the same conditions. The hours of use for today’s EVA for Spirit from start to finish was 0.5hr while the hours of use for Curiosity was 0.7hr.

ATV’s Used: None (Honda, 300, 350.1, 350.2, 350.3)

Reason for use: Not applicable

Oil Added? No

ATV Fuel Used: None

# Hours the ATVs were Used today: None

Notes on ATVs: None

HabCar used and why, where? Not used; Back on campus

CrewCar used and why, where? Off-site

General notes and comments: Spent the first half of the day on an EVA. Radios, rovers, and suits were functioning as they should have. The generator around 19:00 shut off and will not turn back on for the night.

Summary of internet: Nothing to report

Summary of suits and radios: Nothing to report

Summary of Hab operations: There is no power in the Hab due to power conservation mode.

Summary of GreenHab operations: The lights in the GreenHab are not on due to being in power conservation mode.

Summary of ScienceDome operations: Nothing to report

Summary of RAMM operations: Nothing to report

Summary of any observatory issues: Musk Observatory – Nothing to report; Robotic observatory – Dome is closed due to power conservation.

Summary of health and safety issues: Nothing to report

Questions, concerns, and requests to Mission Support: Nothing to report

Journalist Report – January 2nd

MDRS Crew 202

Journalist Report

Sol 4 – 01/02/2018

Name the space movie (or show) given the following quote. Answer at the end of the Report:

If we ain’t out of here in ten minutes, we won’t need no rockets to fly through space!

Rejoice! For today, we broke into the Nutella jar, knowing the Great Nutella Crisis of Crew 202 has been resolved by reserves from our wonderful Executive officer. This morning, we carefully spread the Nutella on delicate crepes and topped the dish with a berry syrup made from dehydrated strawberries and blueberries and a dash of sugar. It was a wonderfully sweet start to the morning.

After fueling up, the crew prepared for their first long-duration Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA). The Commander, Executive Officer, Engineer, and I were to trek to an area near the Pleiades Road to investigate geological sites and collect rock samples. We’re in the depths of winter and our EVA suits must protect us from -4 degrees Celsius (i.e. ~25 degrees Fahrenheit); therefore, preparing to shove our heads through the goldfish bowl helmet is a lengthy process.

Each of us bundles up in two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, the flight suit… the flight suit’s zipper is nearly bursting at the seams… our hiking boots, gloves, the radio, the microphone to the radio, the bandana over our mouth to prevent fogging up the helmet and hold the microphone in place, and finally the EVA suit carrying our life support systems.

The EVA suit alone weighs approximately 20 – 25 pounds, similar to the weight of a small dog or 104 blueberry muffins. There are two straps around your shoulders and two straps across your chest to support the military grade frame against your back. This may not seem like an enormous weight, but after 3 hours of hiking, it’s amazing the muscles you discover in your back that you never knew were there!

As a Martian, you must stand in the airlock for 5 minutes to allow for depressurization before exiting the habitat. Here are a few suggestions to fill your time during the wait: Charades, Hangman, 20 Questions, and/or Tic, Tac, Toe. Our Executive Officer is the reigning champion of 20 Questions, but it is still early in the mission.

Our geological sites of interest required a 15-minute rover expedition and a 1-mile hike. The drive nearly froze our fingers, but the hike quickly warmed them up again nearly to the point of sweating. Note to future astronauts: triple tie your shoes before going on an EVA. You cannot reach your boots when there is a giant glass dome limiting your reach, not to mention I cannot touch my toes to begin with. You will be forced to waddle in shame to another crew member, attempt to throw your foot on a rover tire, and have them tie your shoes. Like a kindergartener.

The day was beautiful. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and a vibrant blue, and the snow sparkled rainbows as we drove across the Martian landscape. Our geological site used to be an ocean millions of years ago. The evidence of its waters could be seen in the orange hues of brittle rock, beige slabs of clay, and patches of sand. Smooth rocks spotted the hills, as we arrived at our plateau and found some ideal boulders and pebbles to spectra and thermal image before moving onto the next site. With our bag of rocks so large Charlie Brown would be jealous, we “Mars walked” all the way back to our rovers. Mars has 1/3rd of Earth’s gravity and the Moon only has 1/6th.

This means you’re not quite skipping and leaping on Mars, but you’re not walking normally either. You simply have some extra bounce in your step, doubled by the excitement of the crew. Our lovely crew members working CapCom from home base prepared heated bread and warm tea for our return, ending the main excitement of the day… Or so we thought.

The setting: a casual card game between two crew members. Another laid out on the couch reading a book, silently enjoying a sci-fi world outside of our own. When all of a sudden, a flicker. The lights dimmed and brightened… dimmed and brightened… The radio static could be heard at the press of the director’s thumb. There’s an anomaly with the power generator. There were attempts to diagnose the issue, but the sun was dropping quickly and the cold is a greater threat than the malfunctioning generator. It would have to wait til the morning.

We prepared our home to enter low power mode. With 63% of power remaining, the habitat should stay powered through the night. And so, the Great Generator Crisis of Crew 202 began. It’s headlamps and flashlights until we settle in for the night. On the Red Planet, power is essential for survival. It provides heat. It pumps the water. It preserves our food. We wait to see what new personality tomorrow will bring.

Movie (or Show) Answer: Alien

Greenhab Report – January 2nd

Crew 202 Greenhab Report 02-Jan-2019
Greenhab Officer: Jake Qiu

Environmental Control:
Cooling w/ ambient air (1hrs)

40% Shade Cloth on

Average Temperatures:
Low: 22.6°C
High: 35.7°C

Hours of Supplemental Light: 5

Daily Water Usage of Crops: 12 gallons

Water in Blue Tank (lbs): 90%

Times of Watering for Crops:

Changes to crops:
* Tomatoes have the same growth
* Cucumbers leaves looking dry
– Will water more
* One radish looking dry
* Some cilantro look dry and weak
* Lettuce is growing well
* Snap Peas are growing very well
* 14 trays of daikon radish microgreens planted (Greywater condition and Soil Condition)

Plants are growing relatively well except for some looking dry. Daikon radish microgreens have started for two conditions but cannot start the final control condition due to power conservation mode.

Will start another 7 trays for daikon radish microgreens tomorrow (SOL5). 80% shade was taken down on the right-hand corner.

Experiment Results:
Date: SOL4 Crew 202 (SOL14 overall)
Watered samples

Harvest: N/A

Support/Supplies Needed: N/A


Sol Summary – January 2nd

Sol: 4

Summary Title: Engage!

Author’s name: Cesare Guariniello

Mission Status: Today we began our real exploration, with the first medium-length EVA. The EVA supported geology and two more research projects. The mission is proceeding greatly, with a great combination of work, exploration, fun, and enjoyment of life together on Mars.

Sol Activity Summary: The day began on a stress-relieving note, with some yoga small exercises and postures led by the Commander. After breakfast with crepes and Nutella, the whole crew participated in the preparation of EVA #3, which lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. The afternoon was spent resting and working on research projects. After sunset, the crew had a little scare due to some malfunction in the power system, which was luckily solved in a short time by the Program Director.

My commander role keeps giving me emotional moments very often. Once again, it is amazing to receive twice as much good vibes, from my own experience, and from seeing the joy and happiness of my crew. Today the EVA was exhausting as usual but full of laughter, and the work becomes incredibly light when friends are around, and good feelings are within us. We are having our first emergency tonight, with the power system being a little mercurial (on Mars?), and we are currently in power conservation mode, but with the mood still very high!! 😀 Any non-nominal situation is more learning on our way to Mars!!

Look Ahead Plan: Tomorrow we will have a second EVA for a collection of geological samples and support to phase 2 of the research project on crew stress (after completion of the EVA). Crew members in the habitat will work on their projects, besides dealing with the daily maintenance

Anomalies in work: The generator is currently off, campus in conservation mode

Weather: Sunny and cold with melting snow on the ground

Crew Physical Status: In perfect health, helped by the morning yoga. Some expected muscle soreness for the EVA crew

EVA: The Commander, Executive Officer, Crew Engineer, and Crew Journalist had an EVA to the region along Pleiades Rd, after riding the rovers along Cow Dung Rd. The snow is finally melting, and the fluvial deposit area around Pleiades Rd only had 1 inch of patchy snow, which did not cause any hazard, while the hills on the sides of the road were completely uncovered and yielded interesting clay samples. On the way out, scenarios were discussed for the project on EVA decision-making. While in the field, we worked on geology and on radiation measurement. The EVA had a long time in the field, between hiking and working, and was a great experience of the toughness of outdoor operations on Mars.

Reports to be filed: Sol Summary, Operations Report, Greenhab Report, EVA report, EVA request, Journalist Report

Support Requested: None

Commander, MDRS 202


EVA Report – January 2nd

Crew 202 EVA Report 2-Jan-2019

EVA #3

Author: Denys Bulikhov (EXO)

Purpose of EVA: First real EVA, a collection of geological samples and ambient radiation readings

Start time: 10:48

End time: 13:31

Narrative: EVA 3 crew took Cow Dung Rd down to Zubrin’s head and parked at the beginning of the Pleiades Rd. The crew walked down the Pleiades Rd for about 0.6 miles. At two different locations crew collected geological samples and ambient radiation readings. Most of the electronic equipment for radiation readings malfunctioned in the cold, and readings were recorded manually. The crew took multiple pictures and videos.

Destination: Pleiades Rd, west of North Pinto Hills

Coordinates: E520200, N4248700

Participants: Cesare Guariniello (CMD), Denys Bulikhov (EXO), Kasey Hilton (ENG), Alexandra Dukes (JOU)

Road(s) and routes per MDRS Map: Cow Dung Road, then walk East towards on Pleiades Rd

Mode of travel: Driving and walking

Vehicles used: Spirit and Opportunity

With best regards,
Denys Bulikhov

Final Mission Summary – Crew 201

Mission Summary

Misión de Exploración – 1

Crew 201

Tania Robles – Commander

Juan Carlos Mariscal – Executive Officer

César Serrano – Crew Engineer

Federico Martínez – Crew Astronomer/Scientist

Genaro Grajeda – Health and Safety Officer / Journalist

Walter Calles – Greenhab Officer / Journalist


December 15th – 30th, 2018

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 astronaut’s 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 201 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.

Results: The Crew has been doing daily tests to understand the effects of isolation, stress and heavy workloads on people but specifically what are the effects on Mexican nationals. This tests have been received by professional psychologists and will be analyzed during the next few months and give recommendations for future crews with Mexican nationals as well as an opportunity to test it with professionals doing work in isolation like remote ocean vessels and mining stations.


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.

Results: The Crew has been doing daily measurements of weight, water consumption, nutrition, heart frequency and blood pressure. This experiment wants to further understand the effects of isolation, stress and heavy workloads on analogue astronauts for future missions as well as to properly prepare selected analogue astronauts on what pre-mission activities are to be done to complete missions successfully. Additional tests on dehydration after EVAs were done to understand the workload and exercise done by analogue astronauts during extended multihour multiactivity missions with space suits.


Title: Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Pointing

Author(s): Genaro Grajeda, Federico Martínez

Objectives: Point a VSAT with 3D printed tools

Results: The VSAT pointing experiment was unsuccessful due to logistic delays for the main component of the experiment. Nonetheless, the 3D printer was used to make 9, 10 and 11 cm wrenches that are standard for the nuts and bolts on an standard VSAT kit and can be left at the station for durability tests as well as strength tests that printed tools offer. The VSAT pointing team performed two EVAs to analyze locations to install the VSAT that could be used for connectivity to make a smart habitat as well as locations for possible microwaves with omnidirectional antennas that can serve the purpose of asset tracking and crew EVA safety.


Title:  3D Printing in space exploration

Author(s): Federico Martínez

Objectives: The main objective of using 3D printing is to provide us 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.

Results: The use of 3D printing it’s becoming something usual when we talk about manufacture and technology. Having this kind of technology on site gives us advantages as rapid prototyping, personalized tools, variety of materials and many others.

The main idea of using 3D printing was to make specialized tools for the VSAT project on MDRS a set of three tools were designed and printed likesome open end wrench of different dimensions (9mm, 10mm, 11mm) that took around eight hours to be finished. Also the design and printing of an adjustable wrench ready. However there were some issues with the weather and the behaviour of the 3D printer with the Martian weather conditions, plus the logistical difficulties of the VSAT system to arrive to MDRS. It made us took the decision to stop the printing of this parts and focus on using the material on making the rover with the preliminary designs.

The printing of 28 parts of the rover took about 50 hours. This time doesn´t include failed printed parts, software configuration and machine calibration.
At the beginning of mission we assemble, repaired and installed the 3D printer on the RAM. The malfunction of a temperature sensor gave us trouble so it was replaced, however the low temperature inside the RAM was making the parts warping on the corners. After several attends of printing and mechanical and software adjustments, the crew took the decision to move the printer to the low deck of the Hab. This gave us better results, reason why we have been able to print the tools and the 99% of the rover parts.

Due to the low temperatures during the last couple of days, it turned harder to continue printing with the cold weather and wind as main factors. These conditions are not the best conditions for this kind of amateur 3D printers.

We will continue working in these projects on Earth and as a main objective, we will make improves to the 3D printer to make it capable to print on tough weather conditions, starting with an enclosure to keep the heat, a stronger frame, and an extrusion system capable of reaching higher temperature.


Title:  Engaging space to the people

Author(s): Crew 201

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

Results: All the material was recorded and will be under the editing process at the beginning of January. It consists in a series of interviews with the Crew members about their daily work at MDRS and personal objectives. It was directed and produced by the members of Crew 201.


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.

Results: Regarding the electronics architecture and communications protocols of the rover, due to the requirements of the long distances communications; we chose devices capable to transmit at least 1k data. The project consisted in a long distance command data transmission for the autonomous manipulation of the rover.

During the first days of the mission, we worked with the electronics to test the code of the data transmission. First, we started to set up the devices with the software, but it seemed that they had a malfunction or that the PCBs were not working properly. We tried with different devices, different laptops and different software, but the problem was still remaining. During several days of trying to communicate with the laptop, we started to think in alternative solutions. After testing carefully each electronic module and obtaining the same results, we decided to ask for another devices but, unfortunately they never arrived.  While we were waiting for the electronics components, we focused in the 3D printing of the Rover and tools.


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 bi dimensional images

Results: During the simulation we were able to take the necessary pictures to test and train artificial vision algorithms for recognition of patterns of colour, form and size as well as distance and depth estimation using stereo vision.  To take the pictures, we used two high definition web cameras fixed and configured to take identical pictures with angle difference.  The pictures taken include several kinds of terrain such as flat, big-sized rocks or hills, small rocks (obstacles) and sand.  Although the algorithms could not be fully functional due to software configuration issues, the images will certainly be very useful for future work.


The software developed is part of the autonomous navigation system of a rover prototype that will explore and help in several tasks both in space and Earth.


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.

Results: We designed a rover prototype for testing the behaviour of the mechanical parts in hostile surfaces. All the Rover design was completed in México and, during the mission, we printed a scaled version of it, due to the original prototype that we were supposed to use at MDRS never arrived because of logistics problems.

While printing it, we found that the low temperature inside the RAM was affecting in a bad mode the printing, so we moved the printer in the lower part inside the Hab. Later in the mission, we faced some problems with the printing again, such as the air flow inside the Hab, the place was not the flattest for printing, also, some sensors were not working as they must to, like the thermal sensors of the bed and extruder. This stopped us in the advance of the printing and assembling of the Rover.  However, the Rover was built in its 99% and we are still waiting for the last printing parts.


Title:  Martian Soil Analysis for usage on Greenhab

Author(s): Walter Calles

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.

Results: On two EVAs, 5 different soil samples were collected, categorized and used to test their capacity for growing plants. To get started, those samples were mixed with ground soil in small percentages and tested with three radish seeds. 3 of the 5 samples were tested in the following percentages: Type 1 soil sample in 10,20,30,40 and 50% mixes. Only 10, 20 and 30% showed results. 40 and 50 percent didn’t show any progress, probably for the very low concentration of soil sample/ ground used (234g). For types 2 and 3, only 10 and 20% mixes were tested.

Both showed results, but in a lower scale, compared to type 1. Next steps suggest a new round, using more organic ground (~800g as total). The next step as well should be the categorization and testing of types 4 and 5 of the Martian soil samples. The experiment ran through 8 sols. A separate and more elaborated experiment summary will be delivered to the next crew’s Greenhab officer to keep track and continue with these testings.

Copyright © The Mars Society. All rights reserved. | Main Site