Commander Report – January 22nd

MDRS Crew 220 Commander’s Report 22Jan2020
Commander: Shawna Pandya

Power to the (Martian) People!

Sol 3 and we have already come together admirably as a crew to rise to the occasion. As I understand it, for the first time in station history, over Sol 1 & 2, both the generator and the solar panels failed due to the Martian winter, and station power went down to a SOC of 0%, leaving us to place all EVAs and science on hold until we got back line. There are some who might shrink back from such a challenge – and there are those who rise, grow and become closer and stronger in the face of adversity. I am proud to say that MDRS Crew 220 is the latter. These strong men and women of Mars stepped up to the occasion, powered down, took the ~36hrs without electricity in stride. We shared experiences by flashlight, sang favorite tunes by guitar (like “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley), and did our best to look after each other’s mental and physical status. The fortitude that this crew has shown has made me proud.

Today, as the Hab got back online, we started to catch up on normal operations and getting our mission back on track. First, we restored power in a graded fashion, bringing essential electrical operations online first as the state-of-charge of the back-up batteries reached first 12, then 50 and finally 100%. We started with our radio chargers, followed by our life support suits for EVA and rovers and internet, followed by full operations. The rest of the day was spent bringing the mission back on track to achieving our objectives with respect to mission, exploration and science objectives, including planning EVAs and getting our science back online. We started the morning by doing EVA preparatory drills, to ensure that we knew our gear inside out, and could equip ourselves expediently in case of an emergency.

Next, we completed took part in a body mapping activity, where we outlined our bodies, and then mapped our physical, physiological and psychological states onto the posterboard. This crew has put a special emphasis on wellness, and this body-mapping activity comprised today’s wellness actviity. All in all, this crew has demonstrated incredible fortitude and resilience, but just as importantly, incredible compassion and humanity. We check in with each other, ensure we stay fed and hydrated, and look out for signs of distress, fatigue and over-exertion. I am honored to be amongst this crew.

Looking forward to the ensuing Sols,

Commander Pandya