Author: Shawna Pandya, Commander
Title: Learn, Baby, Learn…
Today was an incredible day of learning. I started the day awakening at MAU station, having spent the night there, as a means of pre-orientating to the MAU station operations. It won’t be long now, but we will be switching over at Sol 7. I am thrilled and amazed at the balmy desert paradise that the MAU station has created amidst a lone and frigid red jewel, and look forward to building on the work that MAU crew as started as we transition over next week.
Next, we attempted our first medical EVA drill, intended to be a joint medical drill. Unfortunately, we immediately ran into issues with our communications as soon as we stepped out. Additionally, one of the MDRS EVA crew members experienced some issues and needed to return to MDRS station. Once outside MDRS, we attempted to continue to troubleshoot the comms issues, but ultimately called off the EVA because of ongoing issues.
I am extremely proud of what happened next. The MAU and MDRS crews sat down together to debrief about the lessons learned, and also made the difficult, but correct call to abort the afternoon EVA as we worked to compile a list of lessons learned, and abort criteria for future EVAs. I am sharing some of the list elements here, in hopes that it will be of use for future crews:
(1) Equipment/suit failures;
(2) Medical emergencies;
(3) EVA exceeds pre-planned "return-to-base" time;
(4) If every EVA member is not able to complete the EVA;
(5) Predetermined comms criteria are not met; and/or
(6) Team determines that there is a valid safety concern with proceeding
Sometimes in order to hit your objectives, you have to go through the nitty-gritty details to set yourselves up for success on future operations. I feel we achieved this today, and am proud of my MAU-MDRS Martians for working the problem in a disciplined and methodical fashion. Mars. Whatever. It. Takes.
Over and Out