Journalist Report – December 28th

Journalist Report
Ben Durkee, Crew 218 Journalist

Sol 06

I swear these morning workouts get more and more intense every day. Sitting up has now become an ordeal, and don’t even get me started on descending our glorified ladder of a staircase. I feel like a 21-year-old going on octogenarian – perhaps we age faster on Mars? I may have to request some dentures in the next cargo resupply craft sent from Earth…

In spite of our body aches, we spent a good chunk of time today sweeping the snow from our inter-Habitat tunnels again. We still haven’t been able to locate that pesky leak that’s allowing the precipitation in. I suspect it is the Martian mouse from Sol 04 trying to take us out one by one. We haven’t been able to track him down, yet, but have affectionately named him Marvin.

It’s very interesting the way the mind wanders when given the time and space to do so.

“When Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson studies his family history, is it considered genealogy or geology?”

This is the question Pat (the crew geologist) and I pondered over lunch. After involving the rest of the crew in our whirlwind debate, the general consensus became the latter, but we welcome outside opinions on the matter.

After discussing our philosophical quandary, the curtain of clouds parted for the first time in days to reveal unfettered, unfiltered sunlight. Not only does this imply the most snow melting power we’ve had yet, but it also means the sun was finally ripe for observation. Cesare rushed out to the observatory to carpe this rare diem.

Once he had methodically set up all of the instrumentation, he invited us in individually to join in his observation. Eventually my turn rolled around, and I removed my glasses and peered into the gauntlet of mirrors and lenses. We fiddled with the knobs until I got a view of the sun. Circular, as expected. A bit more adjustment yielded better focus, and I was able to watch the surface of the sun subtly pulsate and squirm, like a colossal heart of nuclear fusion.

Cesare spent some time adjusting machinery and software far beyond in an attempt to capture some solar activity. We weren’t able to observe any sun spots or granulation, but in hindsight that may be a blessing considering Mars’s lack of shielding against such radioactive tumult.

The sun soon escaped our grasp and retreated behind the horizon, so we too retreated to the Hab. A dash of Smash Bros. to wind down, a pinch of pepper on our dinner, and the evening had escaped us in a similar fashion. We’ve a cold night ahead of us, but hopefully the sun will return unobstructed to thaw our Martian landscape. If the stars align, we may even be able to go on EVA tomorrow and launch our scientific discoveries into full swing. Fingers crossed!

Science Report – December 28th

Crew 218 Science Report 28-DEC-2019
Crew Science Officer: Dr. Jonathan R. Buzan

1. Decision Making in support of autonomy for crew EVAs:

No EVA: nothing to report.

2. Mars surface weather:

No EVA: nothing to report.

3. Subsurface structure on Mars:

No EVA: nothing to report.

4. Detecting radio signal strength:

No EVA: nothing to report.

5. EVA workload analysis:

No EVA: nothing to report.

6. EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) ergonomic assessment:

No EVA: nothing to report.

7. Environmental Stresses over MDRS habitat and Crew Members and projection over Martian Terrain:

The Crew Engineer, Luz Maria Agudelo Urrego, reported that overnight data collection was completed.

We present preliminary results. The x-axis is time in a 24 hour period, the y-axis is temperature (°C), and each color represents a different day in the LuzMa’s room. The threshold of 26.6°C is considered the lower limit for human thermal heat stress.
Unexpectedly, the nighttime temperatures are surpassing the threshold, and are sustained throughout the night.

8. Messier and other space objects for outreach:

Cloudy Weather: nothing to report.

9. Reliability and maintenance:

No EVA: nothing to report.

10. Medical readings in preparation for future crew-wide project:

No EVA: nothing to report.

11. Collection of clay, shale, and hematite samples:

No EVA: nothing to report.

12. Media and outreach:

The Crew Journalist, Benjamin Durkee, has developed interview questions and will interview each crew member.

Glassware check out: None

A reminder to all crewmembers: There’s a $300 fine for using any glassware material without MDRS Mission support permission.


Operations Report – December 28th

Crew 218 Operations Report 28-Dec-19

SOL: 06
Name of person filing report: Luz Maria Agudelo Urrego
Non-nominal systems: NA
Generator: run
Hours run: 13
From what time last night: 1800
To what time this morning: 0730
List any additional daytime hours when the generator was run: N/A Solar— SOC % (Before generator is run at night: 78%
Diesel Reading – 81%
Station Propane Reading – 74%
Ethanol Free Gasoline: N/A
Water (loft tank) (gal): 35
Water Meter (units): 0147092.6
Water (static tank) (gal): 395
Static to Loft Pump used – Yes
Water in Green Hab (gal): 105
Water in Science Dome (gal): 0
Toilet tank emptied: No

Deimos rover used: Still in workshop
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
Sojourner rover used: Assigned to director
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
Spirit rover used: Not used
Hours: 119.2
Beginning charge: (Before EVA):
Ending charge: (On return from EVA, before recharging):
Currently charging: Yes
Opportunity rover used: Still in workshop
Beginning charge:
Ending charge:
Currently charging:
Curiosity rover used: Not used
Hours: 124.4
Beginning charge:
Ending charge: (On return from EVA, before charging):
Currently charging: Yes
Notes on rovers: Opportunity and Deimos off-site for maintenance. ATV’s Used: (Honda, 300, 350.1, 350.2, 350.3): No
Reason for use: N/A
Oil Added? No
# Hours the ATVs were used today: 0
Notes on ATVs: N/A
HabCar used and why, where? No
CrewCar used and why, where? No
General notes and comments: N/A
Summary of internet: Nominal
Summary of suits and radios: Nominal
Summary of Hab operations: Nominal

Summary of Science Dome operations: Nominal
Summary of RAM operations: Nominal
Summary of any observatory issues: Nominal
Summary of health and safety issues: Nominal
Questions, concerns and requests to Mission Support: NA



Crew 218

GreenHab Report – December 28th

Crew 218 GreenHab Report 28-DEC-19

Crew GreenHab Officer: Dr. Jonathan R. Buzan

Environmental control: Heating.

Shade cloth (40% and 30%) on.

Average temperature: 23.2°C; 19%


Floor Unit: 17°C

Electronic: 21.6°C

humidity 19%


Floor Unit: 19°C

Electronic: 26.0°C

humidity 17%


Floor Unit: 16°C

Electronic: 22.0°C

humidity 19%

Max: 28.5°C; 23%

Min: 17.9°C; 16%

Hours of supplemental light: Light system 7:20PM-12:20AM.

Daily water usage for crops: 5.4Gal.

Daily water usage for research and/or other purposes: N/A

Water in Blue Tank – ~105 Gal.

Time(s) of watering for crops:



Change to crops: None.


1st sprouts: 2 new snow pea sprouts.

—2 snow peas completely dried out post relocation (they were drying out before). Hopeful that they will rehydrate.

—Door closed.


Marjoram: Total: 21.82g

Leaves: 16.08g

Stems: 5.74g

Cilantro: 4.55g

Astronomy Report – December 28th

Name: Cesare Guariniello

Crew: 218

Date: 28-12-2019


Practiced using the telescope both with the eyepiece and with the new camera. Let some of the crewmembers observe the sun. Practiced using the laptop software with the new camera.

Solar Features Observed: no visible sun spots, no visible prominences

Images submitted with this report: none

Problems encountered: still a little hard to have good visible solar features on the live stream from the CCD camera. Will work on imaging in the next few days.

Sol Summary – December 28th

Sol: 06

Summary Title: Still… Still… Waitin’ On A Sunny Day

Author’s name: Pat Pesa

Mission Status: Crew is excited for the good weather to come!

Sol Activity Summary: Today some progress was made towards making the crew video reports and training guides. Also some of the crew got to spend some time in the observatory to observe Sun granulation. Work also continued with the Engineer’s Indoor Climate-Comfort project.

Look ahead plan: Hoping for an afternoon EVA for tomorrow after more melting occurs.

Anomalies in work: None

Weather: Mostly Sunny, around 30 degrees

Crew physical status: Healthy

EVA: none

Reports to be filed: sol summary, commander report, operations report, greenhab report, journalist report, EVA report, science report

Support Requested: none

Pat Pesa
Geologist, MDRS 218

Commander Report – December 28th

Crew 218 Commander Report 28-12-2019

Sol 6 – What day is it?

This morning we finally woke up to some sunlight. Despite cold temperatures and a few hours of fight with the clouds, the sun began melting some of the snow. At times it is hard to figure out what day it is, since we are isolated from most that happens on Earth. In the meanwhile, we continued our indoor activities with some video projects after stretching and breakfast. In the afternoon, we swept the icy snow from the tunnels between the buildings, and we managed to do some observations at the solar observatory. No features, but with the help of the crew astronomer some of the team members could observe the sun both with an eyepiece and with the CCD camera. We are hoping that snow will melt enough to give us time for one or two short EVAs at a later time tomorrow. Sun and cookies sure help with the mission!

Cesare Guariniello, Commander

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