Crew 217 Journalist Report
11 Dec 2019
Author: Teresa Hislop
“Failure is not an option” was today’s theme.
There were no petri dishes in the science dome. Our research plans
call for plating samples from two separate collections: gypsum
samples collected at Moon Overlook and green sediment samples from the
Morrison strata in Lith Canyon. Not be be deterred, we made “petri
bags” by mixing agar and pouring it into zip log bags. Success!
EVA One (Ann, Cynthia, Kevin, Teresa) journeyed to Lith Canyon. One
of MDRS’s absolute rules is that one stops when the Rovers’ battery
reaches 60%. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do not take the
Rover further afield when the battery reads 60%. About two-thirds
the way to Lith Canyon, Spirit’s battery read 60%. Not to be deterred,
the astronauts continued with their mission, one Rover down. Failure
was not an option.
They successfully collected water samples from three separate
potholes. They also took measured pH and temperature and took
salinity readings They also scaped rock samples from four samples from
the green sediment in the Morrison strata: one from above the green
layer, one from the green layer, one from under the green layer, and
one from a group of crystalline structures in the layer above the
green layer. Finding themselves with over 60 minutes left in their
EVA allotment of time, the group also collected gypsum samples at the
Cow Dung Road/Moon Overlook Road junction.
While waiting for the radios and Rovers to recharge the group ground
and plated the Morrison strata and gypsum samples. The gypsum
samples were plated on 20% saline agar; the Morrison strata samples
were plated on nutrient agar and incubated.
EVA Two drove to Moon Overlook, stopping at three different locations
to collect gypsum. They went out and back without incident but not
without adventure. It was the first time in over 10 years Shannon had
been in a space suit and the first time ever that she has ridden in a
Rover in a space suit.
Lesson and idea sharing continues. Today’s highlight is Jen’s
Flipgrid app. She posts videos that her students view and respond to.
She can see and respond to their responses. It is a fabulous way for
asynchronous communication from “Mars” to Earth and back again.